An Image of hope in crisis:
My story: Half way through chemotherapy I found myself in an acute medical state that would require a rapid response team in the hospital to revive me and three days in the hospital to stabilize me. Monitoring and intravenous products were needed: antibiotics, hydrating fluids and 3 units of whole blood.
My husband’s story: “When I brought you into the hospital because of a shocking 104 degree temperature, you were conscious, lucid and chatty. But while the intake nurse took your vitals you suddenly became unresponsive. The rapid response team was paged over the hospital PA and within a minute a seeming chaos of a dozen or more people gathered around you. It was like one of those ER movie scenes where the door closes in the face of the panicked family member who is left in the lobby alone and fearing the worst. Within those lonely powerless moments, I had a God given image: Christ was in the corner of the room with His arm stretched out over you and all those attending to you. It was reassuring.”
“Lo, I am always with you even to the ends of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b
“Even if it were possible a mother could forget her nursing child, I will never forget you.” Isaiah 49:15b
An image of restoration:
Back to my story: Later in the hospital room as I looked up at the IV pole with a unit bag of blood hooked in its place I thought of all the people who gave their blood for future needy unknown recipients. I was grateful. Much later, I realized that the blessing of my medical emergency was those 3 units of whole blood. I had not realized how bad I felt during the past two months of chemo. That whole blood was a ‘miracle’ of rejuvenation. I could now face the remaining two months of infusions. And predictable to someone who thinks “Christian-ly”, my thoughts went to the One who gave His blood that we might have life. The New Testament makes it clear that like a blood donor, Christ’s blood was willingly given for life. In some transcendent and mysterious way that death and giving of blood was meant to secure forgiveness, life and hope. Christ’s ‘blood shed for me’ was always a reality but it was not quite the obscure reality it once was for the ‘new fortified’ (3 units worth) Dona.
David needed an image for comfort in crisis; I got an image for restoration. They both were God-given, but our knowledge of the promises of God in scripture provided the brush strokes for these pictures.
It’s not always a crisis that proves the reality of God’s love and presence. But often an intense emotional experience can give us biblical insight into a reality that is bigger than ourselves. Cosmic truths reach deep into our personal stories and transform them.
What about you? Could you go back and revisit a crisis or ‘intense period’ in your life? What biblical metaphor, image or teaching does the crisis highlight that makes the God of the universe relevant to your finite human dilemma? And, if appropriate, could you share it in the comment section of this post?
Next week’s post will be someone else’s article, an excerpt from J.Todd Billings’ forthcoming book, Rejoicing in Lament (Brazos Press, copied with permission). His cancer story will challenge us with the truth of God’s “engrafting.” It is a seriously moving and insightful story.