I need a resurrection from the dead.
Everything in me hurts, thanks to a respiratory flu that has kept me either close to or in bed for three days now. My head aches, my nose is raw and red, my eyes are swollen and weepy, even my hair follicles hurt! Medicated with NyQuil and Dayquil round-the-clock, I’m trying to get the basics done like feeding people and animals around here.
The dog doesn’t care that I’m sick. It’s spring and she’s stir-crazy. She stole my slipper right off my foot while I was resting in the Lazy Boy and, with that Devil Dog look in her eye, dared me to chase her. I have no energy to save a slipper right now. I flung the knitted comforter over my one bare foot and said sarcastically, “Enjoy your new chew toy!”
My poor old mare ran out of pain meds a day ago. Perfect timing. I can see her from my bedroom window lifting that right hind hoof to ease the pressure on her ligaments. I can relate. I’m just an old mare who ain’t what she use to be, trying to ease the pressure of this day’s living and feeling a whole lot more than a bit of a mess.
But my temporary aches are nothing compared to many.
Too often in this broken world we live, there are aches that run deeper than those of the flu. Sometimes there’s an ache that runs right through our marrow, to the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves where life and death reside as neighbors—where cells can invade and mangle and start eating us alive on the inside.
A third friend in less than a year just received a cancer diagnosis. This one? Bone cancer, stage 4. In an instant, her life has changed. Out of town now, in the hands of oncologists, she undergoes more tests and will begin treatment the end of this week. She is holding onto all positive news and praying through the negative. But who wouldn’t be concerned and scared with a diagnosis of stage four cancer? Brave face aside, we all want to LIVE, don’t we? And in times like a cancer diagnosis, we realize that we’re all really terminal, aren’t we?
I can’t begin to know the hard aching of bone but I do know the hard aching of heart. And both aching bones and aching hearts need comfort and care, hope and healing.
So where do we go when we ache so? What can we do to live life to the full while we are still full of life?
I go to the cross.
I need my God to hold me close and whisper again His promise never to leave me or forsake me—to tell me once more how He will work ALL things—even the aching—for good. Somehow God will work all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) I inhale His promise deep because His promise is what gives me life in the midst of all the little deaths we face each day. In all the sickness, brokenness, disappointments, and even deaths—there’s still life to embrace—there’s still goodness.
I breathed God’s promise for friends and family in need today. I breathed God’s promise for myself.
And even today, in the midst of my sickness, I saw a sign of God’s promise.
I planted my old, dead geraniums last week. Out of the dark basement I brought them up and pulled them out of their paper bag tombs, cut them down, and covered their dry roots in new pots with new soil. And I saturated them with water and put them by our west facing windows to soak up the sun. Death sticks stuck in dirt, that’s how they appeared. And so they stayed for a few days. Then those withered geraniums sprouted new growth, green and bright. I smiled.
There’s always a reminder, if we keep hearts and eyes open, that when all looks bleak and feels dead, just wait. New life will come. New life always comes, one way or another. Always.
Now for the tomato seeds I planted. God willing, I will have a harvest, in due time.