Jacob was not the only wrestler that preceded the WWF. As I pulled the red-colored digital thermometer out of my daughter’s mouth, my cheeks turned hot with tears. Her pediatrician’s warning echoed loud in my memory, “Do everything you can to prevent her getting this year’s influenza. It will attack her lungs and wreak havoc on her asthma.”
I reached over to the table and grabbed her inhaler. “Wasn’t I doing this just two weeks ago, Lord? Then two weeks before that? Then that week in November and then the one in October…” and then memories of my friend Mary, who passed away from cancer came to my mind. I remembered the late nights playing gin rummy online with her as she continued to get illness after illness and doctor’s didn’t know why. Her immune system was shot as the hidden cancer continued to weaken her.
And within minutes, after following a train of thoughts that got darker, heavier, and more hopeless, I began wrestling with the Lord. There were prophets in the Old Testament that feared the Lord, yet told Him with utmost transparency, their disappointment in His ways or plan…as far as they knew it. Yet ultimately, it was always a matter of ignorance on the prophets part, as the ways of God proved supreme, merciful, righteous, and best.
So my heart rolled out the black canvas of the last few months, which triggered a rehearsal of the last year, which projected a convulsive soul ache that counted losses, illuminated pain, and judged the amount of trials as “unfair.” Then I leaned over in my heart, laid my ear to His chest and wept in hope to His heart beat. At some point, as I finally began to drift off to sleep, I gave the Lord’s Gethsemane prayer back to Him; “Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done. And with Your will, I need more of Your strength, grace, and perspective in order to glorify You in it. Please…more of You in me Jesus. I’m so far passed my ability to handle life…but You aren’t.” And I fell asleep.
Four hours later, my dog woke me up getting sick, my daughter began wheezing, and my back screamed in pain as I rushed to get the dog and hand my girl her inhaler. But…I had overwhelming peace. Hope had dawned in my heart before the morning sun. Then whispered straight to my thoughts was, “My grace is sufficient for you, Shannon. I will help you.”
Hours later, my daughter’s fever dropped to 100 from the 104, and I breathed relief. As I looked at a picture I had taken on a walk with my daughter last winter, it triggered this poem depicting my night.
If anxious thoughts were trees,
Would you live in a forest of these?
Would they grow so tall,
Because you nurse them all?
Would they be so thick,
Your heart nearly gets sick?
Because your anxious thoughts became trees.
If you’re in a forest today,
Look up and find the Son’s ray.
Then walk to His light,
Lift your head and heart alike.
Tell the Lord of each tree,
He’s the God Who hears thee,
If you’re trapped in a forest today.
Then the grace of His Presence will shine,
Melt your heart and settle your mind.
His peace from above
Can shower with love.
His comfort can flow
Fill the shadows you know,
As the grace of His goodness can shine.
Then one by one the trees fall,
Crashing timber no matter how tall.
As the promises of God
Knock down lies to the sod.
The prayers though unseen
Bring low canopy’s green.
It’s His power and love that fell trees.
Then when looking on all the debris
Remember Him Who satisfied thee.
So when fear comes to haunt you,
Such worry comes to taunt you,
The shadows that do follow,
Look for faith that is hollow.
But you’ll be safe if you find rest beneath one tree.
“God…raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.” “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree…by whose stripes you were healed.” (Acts 5:30, 1 Peter 2:24 excerpt)