Suffering and Sadness During Christmas – part 2

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Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010

“I had said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off from your sight.’ But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.” Psalm 31:22

For the protection and cure of my soul I have been feasting on the protection/abandonment emotional paradoxes of the psalms. All my life I have read this emotional tug-of-war from the songwriter with more estrangement than knowledge. But no longer. Each night after Cheryl falls asleep and I tidy things up in her room, prepare for my own sleep, I enter alone into this emotional nightmare of feeling like God has abandoned me and yet I seek his protection from danger. What gives? I’m not exactly sure at this stage of my worship but it is new to me. I am presently reading the entire psalms, paying close attention to this roller-coaster cry: “you crush me down” and “you are my rock” – all in the same breath. What kind of strange worship is this? I’m hooked. Not to over-dramatize my experience but I am hungry to know what God is doing; it feels exactly like what I am reading in the Lord’s songbook.

What God did for Cheryl Today

The good news for today is that Cheryl’s white cell count was 23,000 down from 27,000. This is another positive ingredient for moving ahead. Also, she was transferred out of Intensive Care here at Loyola to an intermediate room (#6331) because she is now stable. God is very, very good. Later this evening she was given a medicine induced stress test. The reason for this test is that Cheryl’s heart experienced what seems to be a mild heart-attack during the episode that almost took her life. Her cardiac enzymes were way up and they now want to rule out or rule in that she suffered slight damage to her heart. We’ll see how this turns out and if anything will be done at this time.

This evening we had our “Christmas Morning” with Cheryl’s parents, Joshua, Joe and Ashley, and Anna in the hospital with us. It was a blessed evening as some presents were opened, raspberry and pumpkin pound cake enjoyed, and Christmas songs sung with the guitar. Someone got a little bored with my guitar playing and logged on to youtube and listened to Alvin and the Chipmonks sing Christmas songs. Oh well,  “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

After Cheryl’s parents and the kids left, and a round of nurse care was provided, Cheryl and I read from psalm 30 and worshiped:

“To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy. What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!” (vss. 8-10).

David is distraught with the futility and senselessness of his untimely death and attempts to reason with God to spare his life. Still, David cries to his God to help him. How does a worshiper ask for help from his God who seems to have abandoned him? When it seems to you, that God does not hear or care or know or feel or provide or keep safe or comfort, what do you do – what do you pray? Whatever it is that causes you to feel this way about God, he knows that you feel this way about him and he invites you to worship him by crying out this two-sided prayer. I have felt both, the heavy hand of the Lord and the gentleness of his compassion. He terrifies me and comforts me at the same time.

After we read, cried, talked, and prayed, Cheryl went to sleep and I began to write out my thoughts.

Until Tomorrow

Cheryl and I, and our children want you to know that we love you and feel your love for us.  We are so blessed to be part of a Christ-Seeking family like you – you’re one in a million.

Lord willing, I will be back to church this Sunday ready to lead you to Christ in worship. I will finish the series with, “The Greatest Never Ending Story.” We miss you very much  – keep praying for us – more mercies coming in the morning. It’s almost Christmas and we look forward to worshiping Jesus who came to save us from our sins.

Ivan

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