Friday, April 4, 2014

Faith Through Hearing-- Got Hope?

"Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  Because of His great mercy He gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death.  This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people.  He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away."

1 Peter 1:3-4

**Inspiration for this blog post came from a Godly woman to whom I promised I would not give up on Jesus if the tomatoes in my pizza garden do not grow.**
Bein' sick is hard, isn't it?  I ask this and just assume that you, dear reader, at some point in your life have been sick. And I'm not just talking about my kind of sick .  I'm not just talking about the kind of sick that is days, weeks, months of depressing health reports; miniature anthills of prescription drugs; and having to welcome Valium and anesthesia into your blood stream more times than you care to count.  I'm also talking about the sick where you wake up with a pounding headache.  Or maybe you've vomited twice in one hour.  Or hell, maybe you just sneezed three times in a row while you were waiting outside for the bus because, well, springtime.  

Because let's be real here--we've got a lot of crap to do during the day.  Am I right?  Do you have a to-do list with a million things on it?  Let me have a "plan," a "blueprint" for how the hours should flow into each other and how you are going to check off each and every single task.  You have an idea, a thought, a hope for how whatever you do in the next minute, hour, day or 17 months is going to make your life AWESOME.  

And to do that thing or those things, you need to have a body that's working at 100 percent.  

The sick person's hope:  I need the headache to go away so that I can think straight and get that dream job that I've been thinking about for the past 10 years.

The sick person's hope:  God, I need to breathe!  So I don't have to spend anymore money on those stupid stickers you put over your nose that claim to open up your sinus cavities.

My hope, once upon a time:  I need to get my kidney transplant YESTERDAY so that I can A) finish planning this wedding; B) get married to Ben; C) go to Greece because D) I need to be see things and travel as much as I can before I have kids so that E) I won't feel shackled to my life here in Virginia and wish that I had traveled more and done more stuff like drink wine or go to Vegas before I got fat and birthed three minions...BASICALLY, God, Your gonna give me my sister's kidney in February so that I can make my life AWESOME.  

I'm just one person. I'm in my 20s. And yes, I'm incredibly selfish at times. But that was my hope for a while.  I can see clearly now... And I'm not ashamed to admit that I was pretty f*$#ed up for thinking that way.  

If you've been on the blog for a while, then you know what happened.  I didn't get my sister's kidney.  I didn't get it in February.  Shoot, I didn't even get to go to Greece right after my wedding! I had to postpone it!  Yeah!  Sucks, right.  And I was destroyed.  My entire family was destroyed.  I read this here.  Sums things up way better than I can:

"If our future is not secured and satisfied by God then we are going to be excessively anxious. This results either in paralyzing fear or in self-managed, greedy control. We end up thinking about ourselves, our future, our problems and our potential, and that keeps us from loving.  If we don't have the hope that Christ is for us then we will be engaged in self-preservation and self-enhancement."
--John Piper
As a former chronically sick person who will always be able to understand the "sick person life perspective," being sick is hard. During much of my time living with chronic kidney disease it was so EASY (super easy) to turn my focus away from God and what He's said over and over again that He has for me and will do for me, and turn it inward toward what can I get for myself.  What can I do/eat/say/ to heal myself? I'm not saying we shouldn't strive to take care of ourselves when we're chronically ill!  Especially since receiving a kidney transplant depends so much on how well you're able to maintain health leading up to the surgery and post-surgery.  

But...what if we gave in to a hope that's in something better? A hope that's not necessarily in your sister's ability to pass the donor exam; or a hope that's in the doctor who makes the final decision about her approval; or a wedding.  LOL Sorry. I have to laugh because weddings are ridiculous things to put your hope in (I've been there.  I can say this. So HA).

What if we said...
"Hey God, I'm gonna take my pills and cut out my sodium intake and walk up and down the escalator instead of just standing because I really want to stay healthy so that I can get a kidney.  But, at the end of the day...I know you'll take care of me.  So even if I stood on the Metro escalator that one time coming out of the station, it's gonna be alright. Because you promised it would. And my hope is in that promise." 

Just a thought.  It's hard being sick.  It's hard living with sickness. He never promised life would be easy, but you, person reading this, are better for all the hard times you've endured.  Trust me God. You're awesome.