Where are you finding peace these days? How hopeful are you?
Where are you finding peace these days? How hopeful are you?
She came bounding into the room, “Why is the car running outside and why is the door open?” It wasn’t until she saw her mother bent over the sweaty body of her step-father that all the color left her face.
“What’s wrong!” she screamed.
He was panting. Breathing hard. Flat on his back, having fallen there after momentarily losing his balance. Sweat ran down like a faucet. His extended belly looked bigger as he lay there, strangely positioned at an angle between the sofa and the wall. She could tell he was working harder than he ever had to take air in and out of once powerful lungs. He was conscious, but just barely.
“Call the ambulance!” she heard herself screaming.
“No!” her mother replied. “He didn’t want me to call them. We’ve got the car running. We’ll take him to the ER that way.”
Her mind was numb, in shock, yet she knew—if no one else did—that there was no way they were going to get him into that car. He was a massive man and all of him, every inch, was dead weight. She thought about what she’d just thought about, and automatically edited her internal script.
Trying to be gentle, but maybe missing that mark she said, “Mom, we can’t get him to the door, let alone to the car. Someone needs to call an ambulance.”
Her mother insisted it wasn’t his wish.
“Mom, we need to call the ambulance now! If you can’t, I will!”
Her sister-in-law finally did the deed, rousing a gang of locally-trained volunteers from their holiday warmth and getting them into their gear. It was Christmas morning.
While he lay there barely breathing, and while the others did what they did, she left the room. A voice now sounded loud and clear in her conscience. “Pray!” She obeyed.
“God, this is bad. Really bad! If he dies on that living room floor while we all stand around not knowing what to do to help, we’ll blame ourselves the rest of our lives. Please, send someone who knows CPR, someone who can help us keep him alive until the ambulance comes!”
Later, she’d come to realize what a selfish prayer it was, but in that moment, it was the only thing she knew to do.
As she paced the floor and asked for the same thing of God, over and over again, her husband drove to the corner of that country road that connected to her step-father’s property. There, he waited for the ambulance to arrive. Soon after, a young man pulled up.
“Are you waiting here for the ambulance? I heard a call go out and thought I could help.” Quickly, he took the stranger to the house, to the man, to the crisis. He was there as her step-father breathed his last. As he became unresponsive. As a strange man began pushing, hard, on the middle of his chest. As life faded away.
The stranger was a member of the armed forces, serving in Virginia. He’d decided to make a trip home to Pennsylvania to be with his parents over the holidays. He was staying in his parent’s home when he decided to take a drive in the country—on a frigidly cold Christmas morning–by himself–in their neighborhood–seven miles from town. Not only did he possess the experience they needed at the exact moment they needed it, but he did so with compassion and expertise. He’d continued to keep the rhythm until the ambulance crew arrived and a group of local volunteers had taken over.
Life was never the same after that day, which was a sad reality for the family. But guilt was not a part of the equation going forward.
The glory of God shined into a tragic situation, in a broken down farm-house, on a snowy Christmas morning. Some say it was an angel performing miracles? We’ll let you decide that for yourself. As for the narrator of this story, she came to believe!
“The cautious faith that never saws off a limb on which it is sitting, never learns that unattached limbs may find strange unaccountable ways of not falling.”
― Dallas Willard
She knew something had to be said. Had to be done. Something had to happen to shake up the sameness with which she met each day. She was bored. She was disinterested. She was going to find herself in trouble soon, if she didn’t first find something purposeful to do with her life. That’s when she’d read the words from that classic book, My Utmost for His Highest.
“If you do not break the moorings, God will have to break them by a storm and send you out. Launch all on God, go out on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and you will get your eyes open (June 8 reading).”
“What was she missing?” she wondered. “What tide? What swelling? What purpose? What was she missing?”
Blurry vision. Pain. Someone was talking, but she couldn’t answer. Couldn’t think. Sounds. All around her, motion. She was being questioned, but by whom?
Moments passed. How many? Who could tell?
Touching. Hands moving over her body, attempting to find broken bones. Consciousness, then sleep again. A sharp pinch, or was it a poke? Metal sliding under skin.
Hands, again. Hands moving slowly, while consciousness tried again. Clothes ripping, or torn, or shredded…
“Can you move? Do you feel any pain? Can you tell us your name?”
Questions swirling around like bats in fog. Hard. Hard to understand. Harder, still, to respond. She couldn’t.
Black again, then light rising. “How long? How long had it been?”
White rectangle on black. Stiff. So close, but her arms wouldn’t rise to the occasion. Prayers? Tears? Family? Angels?!
A warm sensation came over her, enveloped her. She slept once more.
Have you ever gone to sleep with something on your mind, and then dreamed about it during the night?
I knew a mom once whose daughter had lost her boyfriend’s class ring. If it wasn’t found, the family of the girl would have to reimburse the purchase price; an expensive proposition for anyone. Mom prayed, and in her dreams that night God asked her to look again. Moreover, he directed her where to look. In the milk carton the family used for composted materials. It seemed odd, strange even, but in the morning, she went to the spot she had been directed to search out and lifted-up a wilted lettuce leaf. There, laying atop the rotting vegetables, was the class ring.
God cares about everything that affects us. Everything!
You may not be missing a class ring today. You may not be receiving divine guidance in your dreams. Maybe the things you’ve lost have stayed lost.
One thing is for sure: God’s still communicating with his world.
Sometimes he communicates truth through a song that we can’t get out of our heads.
Sometimes, he speaks life into our lives through the words of others, written in blogs.
He impresses upon us a particular way forward.
He keeps reminding us of that certain person.
He sends us to compost heaps, where we find direction, guidance, help and yes, rings.
If it’s been a while since you’ve heard from God, maybe it’s time to find a field, a rock, and a promise especially for you. That’s what I’m doing today. Join me.
When has the lost been found in your life? What are you missing today?