Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Sickness And In Health

In sickness and in health. I said that phrase twenty-four years ago. I said it, and I meant it. My vow was never put to the test though…my beloved never got sick. That was my job. After all, I’m the one with the chronic disease. Sure there’s been the occasional cold and flu, but never have I had to put my husband’s health in the hands of another. Until…

October 25, 2009 in the wee hours of the morning.
My husband developed all the classic symptoms of appendicitis. We headed for the hospital. A CT scan confirmed our suspicions…a surgeon was called in. Our kids came in to see their dad before the surgery. It was hard for them to see their father like that. My parents graciously took them to eat; a nice distraction.

Eight hours later…the surgeon arrived. My husband and I passed the time that Sunday afternoon watching football games to take our minds off of his impending surgery. I cringed at the thought of him being put under. I didn’t know anything about this man who would cut into my best friend, and why was it taking so long for him to get there? And then he showed up; athletic and handsome, dressed in his Houston Texans shirt. He’d been at the game. My husband would later comment on his concerns that the surgeon could have been drinking. Thank God I didn’t think of that!

One hour and fifteen minutes.
“…May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." Ruth’s words in chapter 1, verse 17, uniquely describe the attitude of our twenty-four year marriage. We are BFF’s. For an hour and fifteen minutes I felt truly alone; even with my parents and two of my children by my side. That’s when God put His hand on my shoulder.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 Yes, I know Lord. I reached to put my hand to my shoulder when the doctor stepped into the waiting room.

Your husband did just fine. The words I’d waited to hear. Yes, it was a simple appendectomy, but to me it was a big deal. It was a measure of faith.

Thank you Father, for warning me what was to come with my husband’s health. Thank you for the surgeon who expertly performed the procedure. Thank you for the ER staff, the anesthesiologist, the funny medical student, the brilliant nursing staff. And thank you, Father for Your reassuring hand on my shoulder when I truly needed it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Do You Have Mad Skills?

“And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the Lord has commanded.” Exodus 36:1

Following the golden calf fiasco at the base of Mt. Sinai, God commanded the Israelites to build a temple according to His plans. The temple would be expertly made by skilled builders. The adornments inside the temple were of the highest quality.

Was it pure dumb luck that the Israelite camp was filled to overflowing with expert crafts persons? No…God provided the wisdom and understanding to those who were willing to do the work. There were engravers, yarn spinners, designers, tapestry makers, jewel cutters, those who forged gold, silver and bronze. God abundantly blessed the Israelites with these and many other skills needed to get the job done.

Likewise, God gives each of us certain skills to use for His glory. That is why Paul said in Romans 12:6-8, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

I believe God not only gives people spiritual gifts, but everyday skills too such as a beautiful singing voice, playing an instrument, sewing or create things from textiles, the ability to write… So whatever mad skill you may have, remember that it came from the Father. And never forget what 1 Corinthians 10:30 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.