First it started with taking a tiny pill every night before bed. I hated those little pills, mostly because my pride took a hit as I transitioned from being free to being dependent on a prescription. But after awhile and when a routine set in I decided that a tiny pill didn’t change my identity. I am still Lauren, even if I’m swallowing 7mg of something every night.
But the story continues to change. Now I’m heading into more uncharted waters and it feels a little overwhelming. It’s like I’ve been swimming for the past two years and when I finally feel I can take a rest I have to paddle out to deeper, darker, colder waters – you know, the waters in shark week where no one wants to swim without a cage.
In a month or so I head in for an electrophysiology test. The doctors want to poke my heart and study the electrical fireworks it throws out. The heart really is an amazing thing. I’m teetering on a 40/60 chance that I may need a defibrillator implanted with wire leads that stick in my heart to deliver a potent electrical shock if my heart decides to go into a life-threatening arrhythmia.
Suddenly the pills don’t seem so bad.
Of course there has been an array of emotions and fears that play out in my mind, ranging from dropping dead from the dangerous arrhythmia to being inappropriately shocked by my implanted defibrillator. I’ll spare any more details to hopefully keep you from thinking I’m crazy pants.
But in these waters I am learning that they are not so deep, not so dark, not so cold. There’s actually a sea teeming with life. I do not have a death sentence. I am not doomed. I am in a place of great deliverance because in the midst of affliction there is focus.
My heart and mind are being transformed, my attitude is adjusting, my marriage is sweeter, mundane tasks seem incredibly purposeful. I want to fight less, I want to learn more, I want to forgive, I want to live.
Last night I grabbed a book off the shelf that I had read years ago called, “Under the Overpass.” It’s a neat story of a college student who took to the streets and willingly became homeless for a few months. I wanted to flip through and read any highlights I may have made. I only had two – not because there wasn’t great stuff in there but probably because at this moment I didn’t need to flip around and filter through a bunch of notes. I needed this:
“More likely, your journey will lead you toward utter dependence on the King of kings and a resolution to follow him wherever he goes.” – Mike Yankoski
There it was – a calling to not despair in affliction, but to rejoice in God’s mercy that he is using something to turn my heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
My journey is leading me toward utter dependence on the King of kings. And though I often squirm under the worldly facts of what this trial means, it’s an incredible opportunity to be set free to believe in the God above it all, with the power, authority, love, and wisdom to win my heart over to him each day.
How could I want to change my journey if it would decrease my nearness to the Lord? How could I want an easier way if it fed my independent and stubborn heart.
These afflictions that are happening with my life, with my physical heart, they are serving to free me from what imprisons my heart to worship God; they are serving me by taking me directly to my Savior’s feet; they are serving me in a way foreign to the world, but in a way that breaks apart hardness, pulls me out of darkness, and sets my eyes on what, no, who really matters.
Though trials are no fun, though I would never wish to consider a defibrillator or my heart being inappropriately shocked, I know, I believe, that this is God’s unwavering mercy to bring me to him.
The same is for you, my friends. These afflictions, these momentary troubles are achieving for you an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So fix your eyes on what is unseen, be led straight to the feet of the King of kings and rejoice in God’s unwavering grace and mercy for you, his beloved.