Process and Collaboration

hospitalPlease have your driver’s license and insurance card ready…

I can’t believe I have been doing this for three years already.  The Main Campus of the Cleveland Clinic, the Cardiac MRI area. As I stand in line at the registration desk I can’t help but notice the faces of those in the waiting area.  The body language that speaks volumes. The worry, the fear and uncertainty, the fidgeting nervousness, the eye avoidance.  It takes me back…

Apr 20, 2012

My first official post-diagnosis Cardiac MRI. So much has happened to get to this point.  So many tests and re-tests and doctors.   The highlight of my day happened in the car on the way to the clinic. God speaks to us in such amazing ways and this morning he scored a direct hit. I had opened my bible app to re-read the story in Matthew 9:20-22 where a woman reaches out and touches Jesus robe in belief that she will be healed, and because of her faith and Jesus’ amazing love she was. But before I could even get there I read the verse of the day…

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

There are no words to describe how amazing it is when God speaks to you, through the word, through the Holy Spirit, through others. It is awe-inspiring, and overwhelming, and comforting. I read that verse and to the very core of my soul knew that IT WOULD BE OKAY AND I WILL BE OK. No matter what this test said, or the next test, or the one after that, I have a promise, that I will be restored. The NLT version says, he will support, and strengthen you, and place you on a firm foundation and He already has…

“Mrs. Cunningham, you can come back now.  What is your birth date? You aren’t claustrophobic are you? You can change in here and then sit over there.”

I was sure by now
God, You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say, “Amen” and it’s still raining*

This song…man it gets me.  I was sure.  Three years ago, I was sure that when they did that MRI they were not going to find any evidence of disease and illness.  My body was going to have been miraculously healed. The doctors would be befuddled and God would be glorified.  I prayed boldly and believed.  My God is a God of miracles and I was confident because I knew He could. It would have been beautiful…

And yet I am here…again…sitting in the appropriated chair…looking at the same picture on the wall from my last 6 visits, that both intrigues me and disturbs me at the same time and I am not sure why but I can’t stop studying it. I never can.  Process and Collaboration it’s called.
“Ready? You can come this way now.  We’ll get your IV started.  What is your birth date?”

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

“In that day you will not question Me about anything.  Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.  Until now you have asked for nothing so that your joy may be made full.” John 16:23-24

“The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.” Psalm 145: 18-19

How many times I have read these…I don’t even know.  Many, many times.

“Did you have to travel far to get here today? No? Ok, Mrs. Cunningham, big pinch.  There we go…now if you’ll come with me you can have a seat right over there and they will be right out for you.”

And so I sit and I wait.  And the guy next to me is feeling light-headed and nauseous and they bring him a bucket, just in case.  And they bring his wife back to sit with him.  And I am praying “Please Lord do not let this man throw up.  I do not think I could deal with that right now.”  And is wife is trying to make small talk with me about her granddaughter wanting to buy $800 OneDirection concert tickets and isn’t that frivolous…

“Mrs. Cunningham, you can come with me.”  (And we stand before a locked door.)  “What is your birth date?  You remember how this goes right?”  (And so it begins…)

“Take a deep breath.  Hold it…”

Please hear me right now if this is where you are…holding your breath and waiting on God.  If this is where you are let me say, I love you, because I know exactly that chair that you are sitting in. If you are waiting in certainty that you will be “healed” and it hasn’t happened, again, I  love you, but hear me when I say, it may not happen here. But that doesn’t mean that God didn’t hear or didn’t answer.  He always hears and He always answers just not always in the way that we want Him to.  It doesn’t mean that He has forgotten or abandon us.  He loves us!  Hear that ok? He loves us so much.  But that doesn’t mean that life will always be rainbows and gumdrops.  Every single one of us is terminal from the moment we are born.  We have taken those verses from above and latched onto them, and made them mean that we will get what we want always and on our time schedule.  We have come to expect that what we’ve prayed for will be delivered via overnight shipping because we want it, because we need it so badly.  And then when it doesn’t happen it becomes easy to question God.

When we face trouble or strife, when life isn’t going the way we think it should, we have bought into this belief that we will be rescued, and rescued quickly.  For some people that may be true.  God is still a God of miracles.  I have seen Him work with my own eyes, in my own family, so don’t stop believing and don’t stop praying bold prayers.  But it isn’t a blanket guarantee.  This isn’t a popular message but hear me gently when I say it’s truth.  And it’s a truth that’s filled with human disappointment and hurt.  And questions like, God, if you can, then why won’t you? I believed and I prayed and I am still being directed through a maze of hallways to sit in different chairs to be poked and prodded and injected. And you promised…

“And breathe.”

He did promise.

His name will be ‘Emmanuel,’ said the angel, which means ‘God with us.’ That God with us promise, that heaven-on-earth assurance, came true in Jesus.  ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age.’  That is the promise to stake your life on.

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, “I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls I’ll raise my hands
And praise the God who gives and takes away*

And it’s hard.  It’s so very hard some days but don’t quit because…

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. I Peter 5:10

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. Romans 8:18

Know that this promise is truth.  God is with you in this and He will restore you one day.  It may not be here…and I am sorry for that.  So very sorry because that is terrifying.  But if you have experienced the Love of God, and accepted the Gift of Salvation, you have the Hope of Eternity. And if you haven’t, please don’t let another day go by without asking someone about that Hope of Restoration. You do not have to live in fear of disease or illness or death for another second.

“You are all finished Mrs. Cunningham.  See you next time.”  Because you are still sick…

And I’ll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm*

*Casting Crowns – Praise You In This Storm

3 thoughts on “Process and Collaboration”

  1. You have truly inspired me! This was so appropriate for me – I am facing open heart surgery next week after months of tests and retests. Please keep me in your prayers and give my love to Phil! Joan Cobb. I have read your book and follow your posts. You are truly a Gift from God. Bless you

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