Open Highway Love Affair

Hopefully, within the next few hours, I will get the call that Liz is being discharged from the hospital and I can bring her home. In the beginning, this seemed to be a one, maybe a two-night stay in the hospital. It has turned into an eleven-day hospital stay. As far as what was the true cause of her pain, abnormal levels in her blood and so forth, nothing real definitive. But here is what I am going with: Liz had an infection, that infection would later grow in severity and spread, it would begin affect other areas of her body. They tried several antibiotics and nothing was overwhelmingly successful. Even today, Liz is not 100%, but it has been so long since she was at that state of being. She will more than likely come home with some prescriptions in hand and a pocket full of hope. But you see, if that was the whole story, there would be no separation between Liz and anyone else who tried to live a life without God’s welcomed influence.

Look, I have seen witchcraft in action, while living in Brazil. I have seen and heard casts and spells placed on others. I have listened to people spew vile language towards a god that are not even sure exists. I have watched videos and listen to speeches in which living and breathing people denounced the very existence of  the Creator God. And the easiest answer I can give to dispel all of that is to remind that person that my wife is still alive.

Medicine and medical reasoning can’t explain how she has survived five years of such suffering. Medicine has prolonged her life, but has not cured her. Knowledgeable doctors have theories on what has happened and how to make her better, but no one has succeeded in the genius ways. And yet, all along, here I am with the answer. Who knows where Liz and our family would be if it weren’t for the prayers, support, love, encouragement, and hope that we have found in so many. Family, friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers have lifted us up over the last several years. So that now, on a Friday afternoon in October, with the sun high in the sky, the simple breeze from the South, and a blue sky worth viewing from Heaven, the joy still exists. But this joy isn’t dependent on whether Liz makes it one more year or a hundred years. It’s not dependent on God answering my demands or on giving me what I tell Him I need. I have not surrendered control of the outcome, I have gladly given Him the reigns. My way has already been flawed. His record speaks for itself. Storms, pains, heartaches, and brokeness are coming. With six billion sinners on this planet, there is bound to be failure, on so many levels. But with the hope I have seen that He is capable of, I feel pretty good with the life of my family in His hands.

Now, it would be ridiculous for me to sit here and think that I live in this state of joy and hope 24/7. I have times when I lose sight of the prize that is right in front of me. I breakdown, I stress, I freak out, I lose my cool. And He still loves me. I run, I try to hide, I pull away. God is not a shadow. He’s not a cartoon figure on my shoulder. Nor is He fleeting happiness.

This week and last week, with the kids in the car and alone, I have spent a lot of time driving. Have gone from home to the hospital. Store, church, school, errands…and all week, the sun has been shining. Music blaring. Often times, the windows and sunroof have been open. I don’t do the air guitar, but do play the air drums. This week, I have been burdened by financial responsibilities, by the many needs of the kids, by attempting to figure out the cause of Liz’s malady, by wanting and needing to stay connected with the group of guys from church that are there to walk with me, by trying not to let fatigue and exhaustion consume me and my attitude. And I have failed at several of these, but driving South on Highway 75, in the HOV lane, it dawned on me. God’s love for me through all this isn’t just some present love. It’s not a love that is just “there.” His love is not a haze that I happen to pass through from time to time. Its a pursuing love.

God’s love affair with me is palpable. It is raw and unhinged. His love is disruptive to my selfish presence. Have you really ever experienced a love that is all-encompassing, constantly passionate, always on the pursuit, never-ending, unconditional, and invasive. This week, through the extreme generosity of so many, through the right word from a friend at the right time, through the support of those that know us well and some whom I have never met.

So, as I go to pick Liz up, with the kids, this afternoon, I know that there are going to be issues in the future. They may require a hospital stay, they may require me to humble my pride once again and need to ask for help. And one thing they most certainly will require me to do is make a decision. Will I lean back into my living Savior or go as long as I can on my own? God doesn’t always like what I do or say. He doesn’t agree with my opinions, views, and answers. In fact, I have ticked Him off plenty of times at my arrogance, selfishness, pride, and stupidity. I fear and worry and stress out like anyone else. My plate appears full. My world feels heavy. But my life is light.

Lately, God has met me in a lot of places; some of them darker than others. But today, after picking up the kids from school and I turn onto the highway and ease over into the HOV lane, I am going to take advantage of my new-found highway love affair.

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