Desperate times call for desperate measures. When we are in fear for our lives, there is precious little we aren’t willing to go through to make it out alive. We will endure long hardship. We will put up with humiliating procedures. We will grit our teeth through pain. We will bite bullets, all hoping to get to that place where the worry will subside, and we can move forward knowing we’re going to be okay. At which point we go back to normal; we begin again to grumble against the smallest irritants, buck against the simplest requests and refuse the mildest indignities.
This is precisely where my bride and I found ourselves. Literally thousands of friends and strangers have faithfully prayed for her after she was diagnosed with leukemia just six months ago. She went through two intense rounds of chemo, weeks at a time in a hospital room, sundry pokes and proddings. She lost her hair, her stamina, even her blood type, but never her will, nor His grace. No leukemia, however, was present in her system, as far as they could tell. The immediate fear had dissipated, and all we were left with was the irritants.
Then we had to deal with the sundry side effects of steroids. Then there were multiple trips to the doctors each week. Then there were needle sticks, competing diagnoses from different doctors. Then we had just enough strength, peace and confidence to be aggravated by it all.
There is a lesson here. All of us, whether we remember it or not, were once not just sick, but dead. What lay before us wasn’t death, but hell, unending torment. When the Great Physician drew near, when He made us alive, we clung to Him, pled with Him, promised Him- Lord, whatever You want from me I will do. Wherever You want me to be, there I will go. Whatever you ask me to endure, I will see through to the end. We were once still caught up in the fear of what might have been. We were once caught up in joyful gratitude for our rescue. We have, however, grown accustomed to His grace. Now that our feet are on solid ground, oddly we find it all too easy to slip. We take it, and Him, for granted.
Now we expect not just peace with God, and the promise of eternal life, but we expect health, and wealth, and comfort and ease. When these are threatened we do not remember our former promises, nor from whence we have come. Instead we grumble, complain. Instead we act as though something is not right with the world, because we do not have what we want. Instead we are put out, annoyed.
Fighting leukemia is a hard job, even when leukemia is on the ropes. It is bone wearying work. It is, however, work for the living. In like manner, growing in grace and wisdom is a marathon, not a sprint. But only the living run the race. He has given us life. Our calling is to give Him thanks. Our calling is to lay down our complaints, and run like the wind.