Who Am I When my Body Fails Me? is a question we all need to ask ourselves when injury or illness takes its toll on our lives. How are we different? How are we the same? How do we respond to mental, physical, and/or spiritual stresses? How do we view God when we are weak or in pain? Below is the most recent of several blogs on this question. Click on Who am I When my Body Fails Me in the Category List to find the rest.
I AM IN DANGER
I am dreaming, moving in and out of terror. A huge, amorphous black shape follows me everywhere. It is punching and kicking and throwing itself at me with abandon. It is clawing and biting. The intention is clear. I am in danger. I try fighting back, but my arms are weak and floppy, as if the muscles are on n strike. I try to run but my legs are like jello. I yell and scream but no one comes. We run together through the night, chasing, escaping – a ghoulish dance. Finally I am awake and shaking. The battle is over, at least for now.
Just as I step out of the shower, it dawns on me. The name of the black blob is Cancer. The ugly dance is a contest for my life. I am fighting but I am weak. The weapons I have been given take all my energy.
Later that morning, I swallow my 34 pills, head out for my chemotherapy injection, have my blood drawn, and finally see the doctor. He says, “I have good news! The blood work shows that you are experiencing an excellent response to treatment earlier than I expected. We may be able to modify the chemotherapy regime if this continues. The future looks very good.”
My mind goes to the story of Jacob, who had two dreams. In the first, he saw a stairway to God and heard God say, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised” (Gen 28:15). Later after a tumultuous life, Jacob has a second dream during which he wrestles with an unknown man all night. Finally, after being injured, Jacob begs to know the man’s name. The man refuses to give his name, but gives him a blessing instead (Gen. 32: 24-31).
Jacob’s mind must have gone back to Bethel where he turned his stone pillow into an altar in honor of God’s promise to be with him. What God has promised me is safety in his kingdom. Like Jacob, my dream has taught me that the battles on earth will continue, but the victory is won. God will do what God has promised. And I will live in awe of that grace.