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Why are you afraid? Don’t you yet have faith?

by davesandel on June 20th, 2021

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 20, 2021               (today’s lectionary)

Father’s Day

Why are you afraid? Don’t you yet have faith?

They mounted up to heaven; they sank to the depths; their hearts melted away in their plight. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.

Saturday was a long, hard day for Margaret. Her breathing tube stayed in place, 48 hours after it was put into her body. By Saturday evening, it was still in place, and would be at least until this morning. Consequently, she couldn’t eat or speak or drink or anything else you do with your mouth, not Thursday, not Friday, not Saturday.

Let it go, God told me. I hope he told her too. God gave us a prayer for patience, not of mind but of body. Let Margaret’s body rest, settle into what this is, not what any of us, including the doctors, want it to be.

When I left they had just re-sedated her to put in a feeding tube, because it’s been awhile since she had anything in her stomach. The sedation must be a blessing now, at least for a moment. They also gave her a unit of blood and a second diuretic called diuril along with her Lasix. Now her blood pressure is allowed to return to normal, her oxygen was at 96, but they want to encourage her kidneys.

She needs to pee! Pray for Margaret to pee. Perhaps that is a new prayer for you, as Casey said it was for him, but it’s a good one. Everyone hopes tomorrow morning they can remove the breathing tube.

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said, “When I set limits on the sea and fastened the bar of its door, I said, ‘Thus far shall you come, but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled!”

For awhile midday I played Bethel music, then music by Michael Card, and gospel songs by the Gaither Vocal Trio and friends. I sang a few Christmas songs, and Amazing Grace, and this and that. I rubbed her feet (it’s how we met, after all) and prayed while I put my hands on her head and her arm and on her abdomen where her kidneys are. Andi called, Miles and Jasper said/shouted hello, and Margaret waved to them. Aki came to see her for awhile in the evening. She was not alone. When Blake, her nurse, asked her questions or told her what he was doing to do next, she responded with big nods of yes and no.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Jesus went to sleep in the boat. But a violent squall came up, and great waves were filling the boat. They woke Jesus. “Don’t you care that we are perishing?”

In the pre-op room where she and I spent more than an hour together Thursday morning, I told her about God’s words for me that released me from the weight and confusion of worrying about outcomes (see yesterday’s devotion). She loved it, and I think in that moment Jesus might have told her, too, that “what the doctors are doing for you, they are doing for me.”

Jesus woke up. He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Be quiet! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was great calm.

But she added something more that morning, that she thought I was taking on the wrong problem. Her health and her healing is not my problem, it’s God’s, and for me to think I have to do everything, be ultra-responsible, and get overwhelmed by it all … well, that was just wrong. She said what she has always said: God knows exactly what he’s doing. So relax and let him do it.

That helped me so much. I think it helped Margaret too, to hear herself say those words. This medical journey is long and painful and boring and difficult, but only as she takes it on as her problem. When she remembers that God is the captain of her ship, then she can rest. The spiritual gift of patience becomes part of her.

And Jesus asked his friends, “Why are you afraid? Don’t you yet have faith?” They looked at him, and one another, and asked each other, “Who IS this, whom even wind and sea obey?”

As I write this it sounds like a platitude. It is a platitude, except that all this stuff we’ve so often heard on normal Sunday mornings sounds new and real now, in this moment instant of our need, as we hear the whispers in silence, the still small voice of God into our very own ears.

Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away. Behold, new things have come.

(Job 38, Psalm 107, 2 Corinthians 5, Luke 7, Mark 4)

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