My Lord is Faithful, my Lord is True, My Lord would move heaven and earth for you. How can I say that? How can that be? Because He moved heaven and earth for me.
Distraught, I hung up the unwelcome but expected phone call from the doctor’s office. They would no longer be scheduling the treatment that I rely upon for my sanity and my life. For those that don’t know, I am severely disabled due to a condition involving chronic debilitating pain in my lower back. There is a continual fire burning brightly in my nervous system and ever threatening to blaze out of control, consuming all rational thought, and reducing me to a helpless, quivering, mass – sweating, heart racing, mind spinning, as my body burns out of control.
For the last several years (going on a decade) I have spent roughly 21 to 22 hours a day lying on my side in a customized bed. I take enormous amounts of pain medication and receive regular steroid injections, which together (by God’s great grace, and the loving support of my wife) have enabled me to continue to work at my job as an engineer, from my bed, using speech recognition software and a trackball mouse. The days are hard (some are very hard), but I function and I have a life, albeit not a normal one.
At the start of this COVID-19 crisis my injection treatments were deemed “elective” by the state, and were cancelled indefinitely. A compassionate staff member from my doctor’s office called me to advise me of the situation, and gently informed me that when they eventually were permitted to resume treatments, there would be roughly two months of appointments ahead of mine. As I became overdue for my treatment, my pain continued to wax stronger and then finally flared up badly a week ago, overwhelming my normal medications and forcing me to resort to strong opiates that are highly addictive and mentally incapacitating.
It was a Friday, and I was unable to finish my work day. I prayed to my Lord Jesus, “Please help me, please help me, Lord. I have nowhere to turn.” No eloquent petition, a simple plea was all that I was capable of. On Saturday, I planned to call my doctor’s office on Monday and schedule a virtual appointment at which I would ask for even stronger opiates and for support filling out short term disability paperwork, since it was obvious that I would be unable to continue.
Then on Sunday afternoon I received a call informing me that my doctor had scheduled my pain injection for that very Friday! I was so relieved and amazed! Knowing there was an end in sight, I scraped through the week as best I could. Then came Friday. I had to go to a new location, and there were several glitches and issues and it became obvious that the staff were still figuring out how the process was supposed to work.
Afterward, on my way out of the facility, I asked my escort about it. She explained that they were a brand new team that had just been assembled and that this was the very first day that treatments had resumed and I was just the second patient. I was stunned as I realized how the Lord had answered my prayer, opening up treatments and moving me to the head of the line, just in the nick of time. I was overwhelmed with amazement and gratitude.
Some may say that the whole thing was a coincidence of circumstance, fortunate timing and good luck. They obviously do not know the God who knows me personally, who loves me, and who holds me in His care. I know there are many others who are far less fortunate, and I hold them in my prayers, asking that God would comfort them and uphold them with his mercy and grace, knowing that He answers and saves all who call upon His name. I also know there are many others with far more compelling testimonies, to which I say, “Amen,” and humbly offer this, my tiny glimpse of God’s glory, as another, smaller voice singing praise to the same Good God.
Moment: May 15, 2020 at 8:37 AM – I suddenly realized God had intervened to provide me medical help.
Even for a Christian believer it can be easier to believe God’s love and goodness in the abstract, and trust Him for his gracious, eternal blessings in Christ Jesus, than it is to believe that He really sees me, little, insignificant me, and cares enough about me to manifest that care in a practical way in my life. Oh, but he does. His love is unfathomable. I close with one of my favorite quotes of all time.
“It comes to this, my dear friends, he is dying there because of his love, his love for you, his love for me; his love for those who are sinners, those who are rebels, those who are enemies. He died for people who hated him. As he was dying there, Saul of Tarsus was hating him, but he was dying for Saul of Tarsus. As Paul (to give his subsequent name) puts it later: ‘The Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Gal. 2:20). He did not wait until Paul was converted before he loved him. He loved him as he was, a blasphemer and persecutor and injurious. He loved him even when Saul of Tarsus was there blaspheming his holy name, ridiculing his claim that he was the Son of God, and the Lord of Glory, ridiculing this idea that he is here to teach us and to die for us and to save us, pouring his blasphemous scorn upon him. While Paul was doing that, he was dying for Paul. And he was doing the same for you and for me. You who have reviled him and blasphemed him and hated him and regarded all this preaching of the cross as an offense, he did it for you. That is the measure of his love.”D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899 — 1981)
Post script: I snapped the opening photo (repeated below) two days before my treatment, out my kitchen window during one of my short daily times out of my bed. Trying to distract myself from the pain, I thought the light looked beautiful in the trees and as I snapped the picture it was spontaneously photo-bombed by a dove descending into our yard. I thought it remarkable at the time, and now see it as symbolic of God’s grace over my life.
© Craig Sabin 2020 All rights reserved