Monday, July 27, 2015

What Are You Doing Here?

   " I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,  and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God." (Psalm 40:1-3)

“What are you doing here?

It’s a question I find myself asking a lot these days. But I’m usually asking it of myself.

Even though I have been a special-needs dad for almost 18 years now, I still have moments when I feel absolutely overwhelmed.

Defeated. Crushed. Helpless.

Last week was one of those moments. Despite an increase in seizure meds, our son is having seizures even more frequently.  Some of the side effects were also creating issues.

There is something inherent in a dad that instills in him the passion and drive to be his child’s protector. We read and talk a lot about “don’t get Mama Bear riled up.”  But a male grizzly bear (i.e. special needs dad) is pretty formidable as well.

Especially one who takes his role as his family’s warrior and protector to heart.

Yet, watching your son have yet another seizure, despite medications and all your efforts, can be disheartening and deflating.

I want to grab him and wrap my arms around his flailing body and command the seizures to leave him alone for good. I want to promise him that I will not allow a seizure to ever affect him again or touch his body.

But I can’t. So I feel powerless and ineffective as a dad in my ability to protect my son.

I remember when we first learned of our son’s profound special needs. I remember that feeling of our world turned upside-down. I remember the barrage of emotions and the onslaught of feelings that left me overwhelmed.

Mostly I remember thinking how difficult and challenging the journey would be.

Two moths ago I was diagnosed with kidney failure for which there are treatments, but no cure.

Friday, I spent the entire day at the transplant center of a hospital as I began the process of testing and evaluation for a kidney transplant.

Tests, blood work, doctors, nurses, social workers, education on finding a living donor, more tests and a whirlwind of appointments.

Last night, I felt those same feelings I first experienced upon learning of our son’s special needs. I lay in bed overwhelmed again.

Scared and afraid.

The same cave I discovered upon our son’s diagnosis summoned me again. The cave of despair and depression beckoned, whispered, and taunted me.

I wanted to climb into the cave and lay on the cold, damp floor.

As a pastor and disability ministry leader, my faith is supposed to be planted in bed rock and unflappable.  But in the real world, my faith can be shaky and sways in the wind like everyone else.

“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

There is a moving story in scripture about the prophet Elijah. After a powerful miraculous showing of God’s power, when Elijah’s faith has called down fire from heaven to reveal God’s glory, Elijah finds his faith weak and seemingly ineffective.

I get it Elijah. Me too sometimes.

So Elijah retreats to a cave and hides out in a cave.

I get that too Elijah. I’ve done a lot of spiritual spelunking myself.

In the midst of his depression and despair, God himself shows up at the entrance to the cave and says to Elijah, “What are you doing here?”

God always shows up in our caves looking for us. He has been doing search and rescue since the beginning of time.

He found Elijah.
He will find me.
He will find you.

He will whisper to our spirit, “What are you doing here?”

Then he will light the path, take us by the hand, and show us the way out of the cave.

Because God’s grace is greater than our doubts.
God’s grace is greater than our fears.
And God’s hand stretches into the deepest recesses of our caves.

PRAY: "Father, even when I doubt, even when I'm afraid, even when I feel overwhelmed, thank you for always offering me a light and a path for my feet."

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