It's after 3 o'clock in the morning and I am awake, battling low blood sugar and pain.
Two weeks out of the hospital with a bowel obstruction and still feeling weak and useless. This was the first time I actually thought I might die from this illness. I felt sicker than ever I can remember feeling before. Calvin Miller said he could hear the hooves of the black horse clicking in the night, and I now know what he meant. There comes a moment, perhaps several in a lifetime, when you feel you could reach out and tear the gossamer veil that stands between life and Life.
I am still trying to regain some of the energy I lost, but so far have not. My headaches have upped a notch or two. My muscles and joints have joined in to keep the headaches company. And in the midst of all of this useless feeling and physical pain, an amazing thing is happening.
God is answering my prayers to know His heart.
In tiny increments, to be sure, but there is an opening where before there was none. It came on my 3rd night without any sleep - having blood drawn or meds given or blood tested so frequently that any dozing was immediately interrupted. I couldn't stand any light, so I couldn't read or use the computer or tv or radio (isn't it amazing what hospitals offer at the bedsides these days??) So I lay in the dark, praying, and praising, and singing in my heart or in sign language or whispering into the darkness.
And I felt an overwhelming tenderness fill my heart for my King.
It brought tears to my eyes.
And that night, everything changed.
Physically, the pain went away, the blockage cleared, the next day I had a hoot of a nurse that brought cheerfulness with her competence and made my day actually enjoyable. I was never so grateful in my life to be allowed to shower. To simply brush my teeth. To enjoy a serving of sugar free strawberry jello. A warm blanket. Ice chips.
Bodily functions began kicking to life. My stuffy nose cleared and I was able to breathe freely. No more throwing up or severe nausea. The nurse got me an air bed instead of the cement slab the hospital bed felt like.
And both of my doctors arrived at the same time to let me go home!!!.
Hallelujah!!! It was like He was stuffing as many blessings into my day as possible. Two different friends came in to pray with me. Then the hospital chaplain came in, annointed me with frankincense from Jerusalem (his bro lives there) and prayed over me with strength and compassion.
And added to all that, I opened the Word and learned a new truth. Reading in Joshua, I read about the Captain of the Host of the LORD - and suddenly the verse where Jesus tells Pilate that even now He could ask His Father for legions of angels and He would be given them - of course He would - for Jesus is the Captain of the Host of the LORD! I have been reading thru the entire Bible every year for forty years - and until that moment, I had never seen the connection.
And that is one of the many reasons I continually journey from Genesis to Revelation, cover to cover, once every year.
Because it's not just "a book". The Bible is a Living Book. And every year I see new truths and learn some fascinating things, and find amazing facets of personalities I never saw before. And oh, how it delights my spirit and fills some empty, aching spot with tender wholeness.
so now I am home, I have passed the crisis - but I still hear the clicking of hooves in the stable next to mine - the black horse of death remains in the neighborhood, never far from my consciousness. There are still things I would like to accomplish - I would love to write a book of devotionals, acquire some expertise at watercolor, publish some poetry, write an allegory that has been rattling around in my brain for 40 years - to which I recently lost the outline and opening chapters that I had written. I open my Bible and the sands of the Negev spill out. The people in the Book, they are alive to me - their relationships, their cultures, their bravery and absolutely unbelievable levels of occasional idiocy comfort me - because in spite of them, they are loved. I see the hills and fields of Israel, the animals and birds, the foliage, the river, the Dead Sea - to visit Israel is to fall in love. The land calls to you ever after - And once you have been there, reading the Bible goes from black and white to living color.
For this one tiny nation is the spot in all the earth where God chose to put His Name, and to provide for His people. And the way each country treats this speck of land will determine its future as either a rewarded sheep or a condemned goat.
It has been said that "modern" man seeks to live a life with no consequences. He thinks by passing laws to make sure his sins are not preached about and no matter how foul and harmful the sin, he shouldn't be made to pay for it. His lifestyle is his choice.
In that, he is correct. It is his choice. One of his choices leads to hell, and if that is what he chooses, that is what he will receive. And whether he will accept it or not, choices do have consequences.
That is truth.
And saying, "I don't believe that way" doesn't make it any less true, or negate the consequences of his actions any more than standing in front of a speeding locomotive and saying "I don't believe this is harmful" will prevent the locomotive from running him down and crushing the life out of him.
So in this time of enforced resting before enough strength is recouped to actually be of use to someone, I am cultivating a grateful heart for all things great and small, and trying to ensure that my actions will bring with them loving consequences, careful choices, and blessings to those around me, and that I may never become a burden to those I love.
I am counting on the sound of those hooves clicking nearby to remind me that time is short, too short to be murmured over. The difficulties each day carries in its back pocket are simply disguised gifts, chances to see Him part my personal Red Sea and scatter the stones of Jericho's walls once again.
And until that day comes, I am praying to keep my eyes open and attentive , looking to see the blessings He has liberally sprinkled through each minute with great tenderness, and worshiping Him in return from a heart filled with joy.