Okay, so this post will have to be a twofer because of the way the last couple of days have been.
Yesterday was not an easy day. The nausea just would not let go of Annie in spite of how many pills we threw at it. Wave after wave of sickness had me losing count how many times I accompanied Annie to bathroom. Annie really felt for poor Anna, our dear guest, who happened to arrive at this time. But after spending the summer with us, dear Anna was at home with us here come rain or shine, sickness or health. She even made us a really nice traditional Czech meal of goulash, dumplings and svičkova (sort of a sweet and savoury sauce that goes with the dumplings) on Friday evening. It was too bad that Annie just couldn’t manage to eat much or even keep food in her stomach. Of course, I had no problem eating Annie’s portion as well.
The later into the evening it got, the worse Annie became. Not only was she sick but she was really sad too. She really wanted to be well for Anna’s visit and for our cousin Doug’s visit this week. She was also really looking forward to being with the girls from our youth group on Saturday as they planned a food and fellowship event here.
It’s difficult to pray in times like that. It’s just hard. I also felt physically and emotionally exhausted. But, it’s also important to pray in times like that. I think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. No other person had ever – or would ever – face a night as hard as the one Jesus did, the night before He went to the cross. He knew the way that night would unfold: betrayed by a close friend, rejected by another, abandoned by the rest; handed over to blood-thirsty men, beaten and tortured, mocked and scorned, brutally nailed to a cross while crowds laughed and spat.
In the garden, He went alone and talked to His Father. Jesus poured out His heart to His Father.
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” – Luke 22:42
We can be open and honest with our Father in prayer. We can tell Him everything. I think that’s one way we can understand what the Apostle Peter meant when he wrote:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
God cares for us so much that He actually commands us to cast our cares, burdens, worries, anxieties on Him. If He just suggested it, or alluded to it, we might excuse ourselves from doing so. So God makes His love, loud and clear by insisting that we do this! The Psalmist (Psalm 139) reminds us that God is all knowing. He knows how we feel as we come to Him. And knowing the burdens that we carry He says: “Give them to me. I love you too much to see you crushed or corrupted by them.”
When Christians pray it is not a religious duty or ritual. Prayer is talking to a God who understands and cares.
And so talking to God last night while Annie suffered sickness with sadness, I just laid out my broken heart to Him.
We did have a great night’s sleep.
In the morning, Annie looked sick again. I got up at just after 6am, prepared to assist Annie to the bathroom for more of what little else she had to throw up. As she lay on the bed this morning, weak and weary, she said, “I just want need to know God is near right now.” I began to read to her through First Peter. If you know that letter in the bible, you’ll know that one of the issues Peter writes about is suffering. This morning, we didn’t need to read that whole letter. By the time we had reached verse 5, we felt the Holy Spirit of God fill the room and our hearts.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:3-5
When you can’t make sense of why things turn out the difficult way they sometimes do, you can take comfort in an overarching fact that Jesus Christ has conquered the grave and lives and has prepared a place of eternal joy in heaven for all those who trust Him and follow Him now.
I used the morning to inform the young people that Annie probably wouldn’t be able to join them, but that our home was still open for them to come and fellowship. After taking Milo for a walk this morning, I returned to a very different Annie. She looked SO well. She was showered, dressed and once again radiated beauty! It was like looking at a mini-miracle.
A few hours later, the girls arrived (and some of the boys too) and we had the familiar scene of shoes filling the hall way, Milo going crazy for the crowds, and the sound of many youthful voices filling our place. Just the way we like it!
Attached are a few photos to paint a picture of the day. The first photo I took while Annie wasn’t looking. It’s not a great photo. It’s not a posed photo. It’s just a little snapshot of my mini-miracle. To see her looking so well, so quickly after the last few days fills my mouth with three words:
“Thank you, Jesus!”
Because He Lives,
PS: Milo had a bath today, ready for Doug’s arrival(!) – hence his betoweled and begrudging look!