I hate math. There, I said it…and I meant it! Adding, subtracting, measuring, all of it. However, it is a necessary evil. A needed component. A vital force of the everyday. Numbers are everywhere. So, while we’re discussing numbers, for me, eleven seems to have some significance. I don’t know why or what it means, but eleven takes notice of me…or I of it. Who can be sure? As relevant today, eleven, is the number of days I’ve been ill. More ill than I’ve been since, probably, ever, apart from having some type of surgical procedure. Eleven is the number of days I went without solid food and (if you’re signed up for the newsletter) Eleven a.m. is the time this comes to your inbox. There are other instances of eleven that run circles around my life but we’ll leave those in the mystery box for now. Like I said, I can’t be sure what it all means, but I’m convinced that God is using it to get my attention. He seems to be a wizard at math even though we can apply no equation to him, at least not one that makes (mathematical) sense.
So, you’re probably waiting for me to tie in this wonderful tangent of how much I hate math to God and have it make this great portrait of how God works in numbers and equations. Well, I’m not going to do that…mostly because, I can’t. He’s so much more than words or numbers on a page, or screen. More than an equation to be “figured out” or solved. He’s so much larger than this life.
Most of us have heard the scripture:
God can do anything–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! Ephesians 3:20 MSG
Now, that sounds a bit far-fetched to a lot of us because we can think of some things! I mean, we’ve got big dreams…BIG. How can an “invisible” God think bigger than this million dollar dream of mine? I feel like my dreams are pretty grand. Well, it doesn’t seem possible until he actually trumps you. You’re sitting there with your full house of dreams and then God swoops in with a royal flush, topping your dreams with awesome sauce. What’s great, is that he does it in a way you never quite see coming. He orchestrates things so far in advance that even if he had told you the reason behind that thing that happened seven years before, you would’ve been hard pressed to believe. Even now, I’m watching full circle blessings round the corners of my life, as God prepares a bountiful harvest before me in my time of need.
I’ve been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of help, prayers and love while I lay in bed…or in one of three emergency rooms, fighting the pain in my body. I’ve found that it’s a bit harder (for me) to hand over my physical pain to Christ than it is to hand over the emotional or worldly things. If a situation, most of which I deem, is out of my control, I toss it at Jesus’ feet. “This one’s one on you, buddy.” and I walk away.While I may sometimes look back, I’m not running to pick that thing back up. Jesus has spent quite a bit of time helping rid me of that habit. It can be about money, people–though harder–, job, living situation, whatever. I’ve learned to just hand it over. “Alright, Jesus, here you go! They keep delivering this to the wrong address.” I jest.
Then there’s the physical stuff. During my ill days, I took some medication that gave me terrible hallucinogenic dreams and apparitions. I could only sleep between twenty and ninety minutes at a time. I didn’t have control of my mind or body, couldn’t differentiate real from illusionary. How do you hand something over to Christ if you can’t even put your mind around it? I didn’t know how to give him something I could not grasp myself. I was so miserable but it gave me a new perspective on those who fight addictions to drugs and alcohol. I know that this, by no means, is the same thing, but to be lured into the addiction or fetched out of it, takes a different type of strength. A strength, I’m sure, does not just sit cavalier within me. How anyone can fight such a fight without Christ, is beyond anything I can imagine. Jesus found a way to love me through that. A friend, as part of an extravagant worship, sent me a beautiful worship album. At about two in the morning, after hours of fighting the demons of this drug, this album was all I could do to call out to Jesus. My chest was tight with pain, my breathing labored, my body weak and tired with no nourishment to fight, left my voice all but mute. This music was my cry to him. My cry for help because I couldn’t do it.
“And whoever calls out for help to me, God, will be saved.” Acts 2:21 MSG
Joy didn’t necessarily come in the morning but daybreak brought relief with the morning sun. During the night, God had told me which of the medications were bringing me such ill side effects, something which would have taken a few days of trial and error, had I tried to figure it out on my own. My bedside table was littered with prescription bottles filled with pills and promises to make me feel better. I believe that the enemy can and will use any method available to silence those who speak the truth of Christ. He tried and failed with me but put forth quite the valiant effort. When he realized that I’d been dumping all the heavy weight boxes he’d been setting on my shoulders at God’s feet, he figured he’d try another angle. I can’t lie, it was a good shot. I’ve been out of work for two weeks, away from my beloved church, in bed, on meds and to the hospital more times in a week than I’ve been all year. This from someone who hardly sits still, will skip work for church, never (and I mean, never) takes medication, and if I’m in bed for a week, I’m using every minute to write–a gift God’s honing and using for his glory, one way or another. The good news is: Jesus is Everywhere!
Like I said, it was a good shot, Satan, but you still lost. I had to exercise my praying tongue over the physical parts of me. Not only that, God has assembled such a team of warriors, that I wasn’t left on my own. God is so much larger than all of this. He can’t be measured in feet, inches, gigabytes or terabytes. He can’t be held to the standards of this world because he’s so large he can’t even fit into it. No yard stick, tape measure, or sequence can contain an entity as big as my God…not even in my dreams. I never would’ve imagined that I’d have so many people reaching out and offering to help me, not because they’re looking for pats on the back or because I’ve done something for them but because we (all of us) are the hands and feet of Christ. Because they love Jesus and they know what it’s like to have Jesus love on them, they’re extending that love to me. What if we all did that? What if we all loved that way? Together, we can be a part of God’s immeasurability. Another important piece of this “puzzle” is to know and realize that these blessings don’t come with a clause. There’s no fine print that says I must return the favor just as it was granted to me. It’s not a scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours type of thing. It’s a this is how Jesus loves type of thing. That said, I’m praying blessings over all the hearts who blessed and sought to bless me. However Jesus decides to distribute that is up to him, I just hope my prying eyes gets to see.
“Let me give you a new commandment: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples–when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35 MSG
I’ve gone from not having enough energy to text, to writing this just in time for my bi-monthly post. So much for silencing this voice, Satan. You should know by now not to touch God’s anointed. As for my big dreams, they’re not shaping up the way I thought they would…and for that I’m grateful. I may not be sitting on the plains of Africa watching the sun rise as I type these words but I am sitting in bed, watching the light of the sun tint the trees with it’s orange hue. It’s a pretty great view, if you ask me.
The Gaily Grateful