Sunday, December 30th 2012 – Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

O Christ, in Thee my soul hath found,
And found in Thee alone,
The peace, the joy I sought so long,
The bliss till now unknown.

Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me;
There’s love and life and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus, found in Thee.

I sighed for rest and happiness,
I yearned for them, not Thee;
But, while I passed my Saviour by,
His love laid hold on me.

I tried the broken cisterns, Lord,
But, ah, the waters failed!
E’en as I stooped to drink they fled,
And mocked me as I wailed.

The pleasures lost I sadly mourned,
But never wept for Thee,
Till grace the sightless eyes received,
Thy loveliness to see.

The words above are of the hymn that Annie asked me to sing at her hospice bedside just 15 minutes before I began composing this very post this evening.

In my mind (which for the purpose of this paragraph is not qualified any further than a grade D in A-Level English literature!), the greatest poetry pours out the mind and heart overflowing with Christ without wasting a single drop. For us, that little hymn wastes not a single word. If I have one resolution this year it is that Annie and I make every word of that hymn’s refrain our very own.

Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me;
There’s love and life and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus, found in Thee.

Spiritually, emotionally, physically and practically my heavenward desire is to let go of more in this world – which so easily entangles, incarcerates and always disappoints – so that we might embrace, experience and enjoy more of the love that has not and will not let us go.

“All the vain things that charm [us] most, [we] sacrifice them to His blood.”

I say with confidence that 2013 will not be just another year for us. There may be less of us than there was last year but there is yet more – wonderfully, inexhaustibly more – of the love and power and grace of our risen King Jesus to experience with each passing hour and day. I want the world – in all its forms – to know that; and if leaving it all behind on a daily basis is what it takes to get its attention, then I’m with John the Baptist:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30

Annie’s morphine has been increased considerably – for a spell – following a new and sudden pain that pierced her shoulder this morning as she got out of the shower. The morphine has helped considerably but she now suffers the nausea, wooziness and confusion that sadly accompanies the increased dose.  As Annie attempts to eat her delayed evening meal, I am typing precariously as if the balance of her teetering internal gyroscope depended on me; no sudden movements or noises just in case her delicate frame rejects the seafood cocktail. She’s enjoying it but I can’t help but feel that ‘seafood’ and ‘nausea’ is a cocktail destined for the bucket. So far so good and I’ll even increase the length of this sentence so that I don’t snap the return key too emphatically and disturb the peace.

Yesterday was a lovely day. Annie was granted day release so that we could spend the time at home with Mom Ruth, Tim (Annie’s brother), Joy (Tim’s lovely wife) and Tabbi (Tim and Joy’s beautiful, precious daughter; Mom Ruth’s lovely granddaughter and our adorable niece!) We enjoyed a delayed Christmas day with a smattering of unexpected gifts – but no gift greater than the gift of having that day together at our home, with family. How precious and how thankful we are to the Lord for His good and gracious provision.

It was a bit of a Cinderella deal. We took Annie out of the hospice at 10am and had to return her – roughly in the condition in which she was taken – by 8pm. We were having such a ball that we did slightly overshoot the 8pm curfew but with no more consequences than a warm welcome from the nurses who were more concerned that Annie enjoyed every minute (be it apportioned or poached).

There were no tears leaving for the hospice. It is such a…yes, such a ‘special’ place.

The modern hospice movement originally flows out of the heart of a follower of Christ – Dame Cicely Saunders – and continues to bear the hallmarks and heartbeat of the compassion of Christ Himself. I’m not big into the idea or theology of ‘sacred spaces’ – God’s presence on earth is no longer contained to tabernacle, temple or located in or on any other static structure adorned with steeple, seating and/or kitchen facility. His Spirit dwells and reigns supernaturally, graciously in the sanctuary of the hearts of those who follow Christ.

For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and they shall be my people.” – 2 Corinthians 6:16

And yet, this place feels special – if for nothing more than the compassion of Christ that radiates His common and special grace through the nurses and doctors that serve us here. The only way I can describe this place is to use an expression laden with bad doctrine and that is: if there were hospitals in heaven, they’d be hospices. Of course, they would be entirely empty and absolutely redundant as well.

Well, it’s getting close to 11pm and – unlike the seafood cocktail – Annie is trying to settle down for the night. Yes, she was sick a few times this evening since eating. The plan as it stands right now, is that Annie will be here until next Monday; but things change on a daily – even hourly – basis with new and unexpected twists and turns in the road – some pleasurable and others not so. But whatever lies ahead and beyond that next blind bend, whatever befalls us in the New Year ahead, some things continue not to change; we continue to trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me;
There’s love and life and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus, found in Thee.

It would be customary to close this first post of the year by wishing you a happy new year. But that is so vague and meaningless.

We pray that you would draw nearer and nearer to Christ as His return draws nearer each day. No one will give you greater joy and greater peace and greater hope than He; why wait until Christmas? Why resolve to make a better you out of the shattered pieces of ‘you’, ruined by sin? Only God can create the you that your soul deeply yearns for.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

R&A

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6 thoughts on “Sunday, December 30th 2012 – Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

  1. Thinking of you both each day. So glad you had a special time with family who are also in God’s family which is a double blessing! Thanking God for you both and am indeed challenged to know more of God in 2013. Loving you both dear ones! X

  2. hope to see you guys soon………you are both so so special….you are making me look at my life in so many different positive ways!!…lots love…didi…x….x….x..

  3. we had SUCH a great couple of days with you guys and we intend to do it again as soon as we can, praying for extra strength that is needed in all areas of your day to day life. Love you both very much. Joyx

  4. We praise God for the grace He gives you on a daily basis. Your blogs are an inspiration. May the Lord draw near to you continually.
    Roger & Pamela Fellows – I think Annie will know who we are

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