Wednesday, February 25, 2015


 (For my friend in need and for whomever else it is relevant)

Just before my lung cancer surgery years ago at the University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, my relatives with whom I was staying took me to Fulton, Missouri where we toured the Westminster Memorial Library. Perhaps they thought to divert my mind from the life threatening major surgery I was facing. 

On one level an oversize statue of Winston Churchill took up the entire corner. A small boy about age six and his mother were looking at the statue. Since Churchill was sculpted in a seated position, the child suddenly took a notion to slip under the guard ropes and climb up on the immense stone lap of Churchill.

"Oh! Be careful!" cried his mother. "Don't fall!"

The youngster replied, "If he was real, he'd hold on to me!" Out of the mouth of babes!

Yes, real people care for and hold on to children who find themselves in precarious circumstances. My friend, you are the Lord's child, and you are in a precarious place right now in your illness. I pray that God will be as real to you as He ever was during your active ministry when you were in the full bloom of health. God is not a powerless statue unable to hold on to you. You can't slip from His embrace when you become too weak to hold on to Him.

No matter how well prepared we think we are for crisis times in our lives, when we are in the midst of physical traumas, we feel weak and incredibly helpless. We don't even have the strength to climb onto God's lap let alone hold on to the Him. We want to be strong and brave. We want to be an example of a believer, of a servant of God who has it all together. But in times of physical debilitation we may feel like a limp, deflated balloon.

When I was in the midst of my surgical adventure, I fully intended to pray a lot while lying in my hospital bed. I planned on being a spiritual example, a witness. I memorized Scripture promises in advance to recite and give me courage. But when the time came, my fuzzy, medicated, anesthetized mind couldn't recall any of them. I simply couldn't think deep, spiritual thoughts, or even formulate decent prayers. In fact, I struggled to think any thoughts! I was disappointed in myself. I was back to helpless, infant basics without the ability to care for or control myself. I just had to be quiet and let God hold me close. And that was okay.

Lord, please hold on to my friend in this critical time of his need. Invite him to climb up on Your big lap and snuggle up while You put Your strong arms around him. Let him experience You as “Abba, Father.” Let him just rest in You and cease from struggling to act brave or exemplary. Embrace him to Yourself and release the Holy Spirit within him in His fullness to "blanket” him about in His role as “Comforter.”

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power” 
(Isaiah 40:29).

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