I have been slightly behind in my quiet time with the Lord... days just seem to get away from me very quickly when we're home from the hospital. I only have about 13 days before we get re-admitted and those days at home are often filled with daily trips back to the hospital for outpatient visits. I have so much I want to do and so little time to do them. But I was reading this evening in one of my now favorite books, "Springs in the Valley". I read the devotional entry from yesterday and today. Each day's message hit me square between the eyes. I'll try to condense them both in a way that enables you to see what I saw.
Romans 5:3-5 says, "We glory in the tribulations [trials of our faith].... knowing that tribulation [trials] worketh patience; And patience [worketh toward] experience; and experience [worketh toward] hope: And hope maketh not ashamed [not disappointed], because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] which is given unto us.
That was the opening verse to one of the messages I read. The story went on to illustrate an experience of an artist named Turner who wanted to paint a truly realistic picture of a storm at sea. In order to do so he had a friend take him out into the water on a boat during the next storm. The artist had his friend tie him to the mast of the ship so he could fully engage in the storm. As the furious storm hit, he wished he could be let down and go hide for cover with the rest of the men on board so the storm could just blow over him...but he was tied to the mast and therefore had to endure the storm. After his experience he painted the above referenced painting. When describing the picture, he said, "Not only did I see that storm, and feel it, but it blew itself unto me until I became part of the storm. And then I came back and painted the picture." The devotional entry goes on to say that in life there are, "sometimes cloud and sometimes sunshine; sometimes pleasure, sometimes pain. Life is a great mixture of happiness and tragic storm. He who comes out of it.... is he who dares to accept it all, face it all, and let it blow its power, mystery and tragedy into the inmost recesses of the soul. A victory so won in this life will then be an eternal possession. - written by Charles Lewis Slattery
As I read the above devotion from yesterday, I went on to read the words that today held. The verse of Scripture for today was from Isaiah 40:31 - "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Today's message/entry went on to talk about what it means to have "wings". If you do not utilize the "wings" God gives you, you are never able to engage in the power that comes with them. Obviously I'm not suggesting there are actual wings that we receive, but if you think about it as gaining "spiritual" wings then that verse takes on new meaning... at least it did for me. After I read the rest of the devotional I stopped to actual picture in my mind what it was talking about. With wings you soar above, higher and higher. If you look at something from the ground it can seem insurmountable. Think about being at the foot of a volcano and looking up at it's peak. Or think about being on the ground and looking up at the Empire State Building. From the ground looking up, those things are gigantic. Think about the bird who is pecking along the ground until it sees you walk by and is immediately frightened by your height and build. What does he do? He flies away. Maybe he flies to the top of a power line, or the top of a house. Wherever he decides to go, if it's above you, from that angle your nothing but an ant to him. The very thing he feared the most, all of sudden didn't seem so intimidating when he put his wings into action. As I kept coming up with each of those types of scenarios in my mind, I realized what truth this had in my own life. Ethan's cancer and the lengthy stay, the treatment(s), and the isolation we have to endure in Boston and even when we're able to come back home afterwards had become so overwhelming to me that each time I "looked up" at them, the bigger, the more intimating, the more suffocating, the more never-ending they seemed. All strength is then immediately taken from my body, my mind, and my soul. No hope. And a very dim outlook on what our quality of life will look like.
They (that includes me) that wait (depend) on the Lord shall have renewed strength. Strength enough to soar high above... soar above the fear long enough to be able to have a view that looks down and sees that my fear is not as big as I think it is. Soar high enough above the months of isolation we will have to endure and see that there WILL BE an end and the time in between will be precious bonding time for our little family. Soar high enough to look down at Ethan's little body and not see the cancer - but instead see how his mind continues to blossom, his beautiful face, his active arms and legs, his big blue eyes and perfectly wonderful smile.
High enough to realize that as small as each of those problems all of a sudden appear to be in my mind, they are even that much smaller compared to the power of Jesus Christ, the son of God.
My strength is renewed, my wings are ready for flight and even if I have to fly through the storm I will come out on the other side with a wonderful picture to share.