Let faith do the fighting … Jesus has conquered everything that concerns us.
While making my way across the countryside on Monday with a friend in tow, I was thinking about the battles my mom and others I love are facing. Suffering is hard. While we were navigating those roads, my friend needed to take a phone call. On the other end was a sister in Christ walking through a difficult journey herself. As my seatmate counseled, consoled, and prayed over the telephone, I got lost in thought. The word FIGHTING came to mind. I scribbled it onto a scrap of paper and tucked it into the dashboard of my car while driving.
We were on our way to meet a friend to journey on together from her home, north to a retreat house for a planning meeting. We jumped into her car (she has heated seats! — it was a cool and blustery day in Minnesota), and I didn’t think again about the note I’d scribbled out that day. When I got home that evening, I opened my email and found a message from Roy that closed with the words quoted above.
I had shared a little update with him about my mom that included these words: I’m not certain at all about my ability to physically fight as hard as she has done.
After hitting send on that message, it occurred to me that laced throughout that single sentence was a lack of faith. I’ve also said in a rather playful way at times that I’d like to die like my dad did. In my sleep, in the month of October, with woodsmoke in the air. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Anne of Green Gables, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908: “I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” I LOVE OCTOBER!
I’m pretty certain Roy’s words were meant to be a gentle reminder that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I loved them so much that I decided to share them here and give this digital missive the title scribbled onto the scrap of paper that very day. The words remind me of a favorite passage of scripture too.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14 (NIV)
When we are weighted down with burdens and cares, we need our friends to remind us of Whose we are. We need people that point us to God and heaven.
On day five of this difficult journey with my mom, she underwent a major surgery that was very painful. My heart ached as I heard her crying in her room while I waited in a family lounge nearby. The medical team was working to get her situated during her postoperative care.
Those who know me best know that I lack nursing skills of all kinds. I can barely handle the sight of blood. Staying in an upright position as I’m in the midst of these things requires a great deal of concentration and prayer. I’m good at holding a hand, reading the Bible, singing a song or two and praying prayers at the bedside, as long as the IV entrance sites are tucked out of sight and wounds are wrapped or covered by white blankets or bandages.
Day five was a Tuesday. It was 4:30 p.m. when my mother was finally settled in after a long day in surgery and recovery. Tuesday is also the day a group of women gather at a friend’s home to pray each week at 5:00. I was desperate to see their faces and hear them pray.
I made a dash for it. And everything looked brighter on the journey back to the hospital later that evening. Who but God?