Month: November 2012

The Most Overused Psalm (Psalm 23)

ShepherdRecently I posted my reflections on the most overused Psalm in the Bible on the Biblical Seminary faculty blog.

The Most Overused Psalm (Psalm 23).

This Psalm has been my friend of late.

Check it out.

 

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What do I have to be thankful for? A Lightbulb

What do I have to be thankful for?  These past few months have been the worst period of my life.  A time of despair and gloom.  Thanksgiving?  No thanks.

I went to the ENT in August having a hoarse voice, but otherwise feeling great.  He put me on three medications that made me feel bad, and gave me reflux.  He thought I had reflux already, even though my only symptom was my voice problem.  Maybe he’s right.  All I know was that before those medicines I felt great and after those meds, I’ve felt miserable

I tried going on and off meds.  I tried switching meds.  I changed my diet.  Low fat.  No ice cream.  No cookies (Shannon’s an amazing baker).  Stopped eating anything after 7:00.  Propped up our bed.  Got a wedge-shaped pillow.  Loosened my belt and untucked my shirt.  Nothing helped. 

I had headaches.  Reflux in my throat.  Cramps in my stomach.  I’ve lost 20 pounds.  I’ve slept badly, waking up anxious.

I have seen 2 ENT’s, 2 GI’s, a speech therapist, a nutritionist.  I visited a medical professional 2-3 times a week.  I had a colonoscopy, and endoscopy and a mole removed twice (just to be safe).

Since I didn’t have enough crisis in my life, Superstorm Sandy came.  We lost power for 4 days.  During this time, I was supposed to have the stitches removed on my mole-removal wound.  But the doctor’s office, like everyone else, had no power, so my stitch removal was delayed.  During the delay, the wound got irritated, so I was put on an antibiotic.  The antibiotic made my reflux worse.

And yet, despite my misery, there are still things to be thankful for.

Friends.  Friends have listened.  They have prayed for me and with me, spontaneously laying hands on me in classrooms and shopping mails.  During our period of powerlessness, friends shared showers, meals, and even a generator.  When I told author Frank Viola about my struggles, he sent me a chapter from  his book, Revive Us Again, how God brings light out of dark times.  Friends have sustained me.

Family.  All the things I said about Friends, ditto with family.  Prayer.  Sympathy.  Support.  But my family has blessed me particularly with humor.  My soul needs to laugh.

God’s word.  The psalms have been my constant friend.  Giving words to my thoughts, fears, hopes and prayers.

God.  I’ve never been closer to God.  Desperation has driven me to God.

Hope.  God is healing me, slowly.  My voice is better.  The headaches have diminished.  Sleep isn’t great, but it’s improving.

God recently gave me a light bulb.  I was in my office reading and praying through Psalm 107 when my friend Tony stopped by to give me lightbulb that I needed for my lamp.  I asked for the bulb a couple of weeks ago, but it was a unique bulb, so it took awhile to find.  After Tony left, I looked down in my journal and read what I prayed right before Tony arrived:

Bring me out of darkness and gloom (see Psalm 107:10).

Perhaps it was just coincidence, but I don’t think so.  I prayed for God to enlighten me and he sent a lightbulb through a friend.  That lightbulb was a sign that God listens and wants to illuminate my life and heal me.

I’m thankful for lightbulbs.

What are you thankful for? 

Power, Unlimited Power!

“POWER, UNLIMITED POWER!”  These words are uttered as Emperor Palpatine kills Mace Windu and throws him out the window in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.  These words were also uttered by my sons as our lights came back on today after 93 hours of powerlessness brought on by Superstorm Sandy (my last post I improperly called it a hurricane).

Four days of coldness, darkness and griminess was probably good for us since it makes us more grateful for heat, light and showers, things we take for granted most of the time.

God, be with people who still don’t have power. 

Image from http://universalprotectioncouncil.wikia.com/wiki/Yoda

Sandy, Servants and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Greetings from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy!

Thanks to Sandy we lost power on Monday evening and we’re still without power now on Thursday. (I’m writing this from a friend’s house.)  While it was disappointing to see our basketball hoop blown over, the real problem has been water in the basement.

Have you seen the flood scene from the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the Disney classic Fantasia?  That’s been our life the past few days, minus the magic brooms.  Although my sons are like the brooms, a bit more helpful though.

We’ve bailed out almost 1000 gallons of water from our basement.  No, we don’t own a generator.  No, we don’t have a battery back-up for our sump-pump.  Those sorts of things are for people who are prepared.  I was never a Boy Scout.  I never even got my Webelos badge in Cub Scouts.

Every family member has carried hundreds of gallons of water from the basement. Yesterday morning, I bailed from 4 to 5:30.  The rain was basically stopped by mid-day Tuesday, but that didn’t stop the water from continuing to pour into our basement.  Because of our bailing, during the worst bits we had only about a 1/2 inch of water around the outer sections of our basement.

Whenever we weren’t bailing, we worked on getting a generator.  I called 3 Home Depots, 3 Lowes, 3 other hardware stores.  They were all sold out.  We were put on a few waiting lists.

My amazing wife Shannon came up with the brilliant idea to go to a friend’s with internet and post on Facebook that we needed a generator.  After a little pause, we began to hear of generators and rumors of generators.  A friend from church who had power had a generator we could use.

Deliverance!

Henceforth, I will call the generator-owners, The Deliverers.

While Shannon was talking to the Deliverers on the phone, the sun burst through a cloud, illuminating our dark house.  Finally, hope!

The Deliverers told us they had purchased the Deliverance-device (i.e., the generator) on Sunday (4 days ago) spontaneously as they were leaving the hardware store.  It was the last one.  They never lost power so they never needed it.  They first loaned it to another family, but when that family got power, they were able to loan it to us.

They were happy that God used them to help others in need. 

Besides the Deliverers, multiple Christian friends offered meals, assistance, internet access, even showers (usually right after standing next to us).  When I couldn’t figure out how to get the brand new deliverance-device started, Tony, from Biblical, came over and helped me start it.  Praise God for Servants. 

We’re exhausted.  We’ve thrown out four carpets and have more that desperately need to go.  Our basement reeks.  We’re still without power.  I can’t access my email.  But, a lot of people have it much worse than us.  We’ve been trying to pray for them.

God, be with people who need power, water, food or shelter.  Thank you for Servant-Deliverers. 

Image from http://morganrlewis.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/favorites-films-fantasia-fantasia-2000/