While We Journey On
It’s been an amazing week in bonnie Scotland. The sun shone every day this week and with it, came renewed hope.
Sunday morning, together with the local community in Crieff, Josh and I went up the Knock for a 7am church service to celebrate the power of God as seen in the resurrection of Jesus – it was magnificent to see the moon setting in one direction, while the sun was rising from the other. Our church members laid out a lavish breakfast for about 90 people from the community who joined us. Claudette was able to be there and it was great to see her being surrounded by folk and chatting away. The rest of the day was spent with the boys and their friends in the park, as well as meeting up with other friends later on. The rest of the week was marked by work, work and more work, for both of us.
What made this week special was that family from South Africa visited and they helped us tremendously in the situation we are in at the moment. It was great for Joshua and Jason to have their little cousin, Hannah spend most of the week with them.
Claudette was up and about every day working away and busying herself with things. This week, we also found out what is likely to come: 14-16 April – 3rd round of chemo in Dundee; 22-23 April – physical exam in Aberdeen; 13-20 May – major surgery in Aberdeen; somewhere in between, a battery of scans. All of this is pencilled in, and plans can change depending on what the outcomes will be.
However, it was this afternoon, that we received a call from the doctor to inform us that Claudette’s white blood count is down to 0.2. I am not a medic, but from what I understand, this means that her immune system is practically non-existent, which in turns means that any infection coming her way, she has nothing to fight it with. The slightest fever or not-feeling-well symptom requires immediate hospitalisation. We are on high alert. No physical immunity. No ability to fight. Vulnerable to anything that is physically dangerous.
But have we not all been there sometime or another? It may not be physical lack of immunity, but it could be emotional – wounded by words, betrayed by friends, let down by family, hurt by those closest to us. We are sensitive to every word and every gesture. No strength to pick ourselves up and fight in any way. Gutted. Vulnerable in the extreme – low emotional immunity.
Perhaps it is low spiritual immunity. It may be that you feel as though you are alone in the struggle you are facing. God used to make more sense before; He definitely felt nearer than now; He answered prayers and you had stories to tell; perhaps you enjoyed reading the Bible, attending Bible Studies and praying, but now…. Nothing. Just whispers, innuendos, distant memories. And the challenges you face demand that you make good choices, but you do not have that backing you once had and you feel vulnerable, exposed, naked spiritually – nothing to fight with. You treaded water for far too long now and feel exhausted – if only God were there to pick you up and give you a break. Low spiritual immunity.
Each type of low immunity requires a different approach.
When it comes to the spiritual side of things, a story about a powerful man through whom God performed unbelievable miracles (Elijah) comes to mind. After one such extraordinary event, on top of Mount Carmel, Elijah felt so vulnerable that he ran from the evil queen, as far away as he possibly could: to the Mountain of God, where it all began for his people. During the journey, He felt so exposed that he desired to die. However, God had different ideas and through an angel He provided everything needed for the long journey ahead. Once there, he hid in a cave and the word of God came to him enquiring ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He moaned to God about his misery. In response, God invited him to the mouth of the cave for a rendezvous. Elijah obliged, no doubt, expecting Him to show up in the same powerful way He revealed Himself on top of the other mountain. God obliged, but to his surprise, God was not to be found in the strong wind, the earthquake or the fire that came by; He was found in a still small voice which enquired once again ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’
Realising how exposed he was not to the threats of the evil queen, but to the ever understanding eye of God, Elijah’s moans were met with renewed assurance and the command to go back and continue the work God gave him.
Low spiritual immunity, is best dealt with, by the One who knows us better than we know ourselves. It is good to stand in His Presence and allow Him to search our hearts, because when He does it, it is filled with love and understanding and grace. When we stand in His Presence stripped by all the pretence and flimsy accomplishments, we realise how dependent we are on Him for our very existence. He exposes us, in order to rebuild us in the right way and when He does it, it is a lasting and powerful experience.
So, if you feel that you have reached rock bottom:
May you run into the arms of a loving God, who welcomes those who feel vulnerable, and allow Him to reassure you of His love for you!
May you experience the still small voice which only you can hear and together with Him, answer the question ‘What are you doing here …!?’
May you find a renewed purpose and meaning in your experience with God, especially in times of low immunity!