I snuggle into the overstuffed nest-like chair in my bedroom with knees pulled up, feet against the ottoman, Bible and books scattered around me.
It feels safe here.
Through my window I see there’s a tug ‘o war going on between the clouds and sun that mimics the push and pull of the thoughts in my head.
Outside the gray is winning.
I’m reflecting on the plot line of the story God is writing with my brother, David’s life.
How many millions of times, with how many different words have I prayed for healing for my brother?
Please, please, please… Write the story THIS way Lord!
Now I’m out of words. Or when I have them, they end up feeling rote and empty of meaning or power. Like some mumbo jumbo incantation from an old tired magician. Now there are only groans and sighs left.
It’s not my words, after all, that hold any power. It’s just You. You hold the pen.
Come Holy Spirit. Have mercy. Pray in my place please, with all the right and mystical and holy words that I don’t have.
I breathe. I listen. And then I remind You of how well Your razzle-dazzle work with Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter played, in case You forgot. I suggest that showing off with a healing like that again wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Write another amazing blockbuster!
I fluctuate between wanting to distract myself with a happy clappy crowd of people, and craving silence, and just You, Jesus.
Like an overloaded African truck, I strain under the most recent tonnage of words like “It’s spreading too fast to fight”.
I share the weight of those words with both You and praying friends.
But once I’ve dumped them one last time, I end up sitting very still and breathing.
Not thinking. Not carrying. Not burdened, but just being. And breathing. Breathing in You. Reassured that no matter what, You are good and nothing – NOTHING – can separate us from Your love.
David is afraid of how this might affect his boys – seeing their vibrant, active dad, weak and helpless. But I tell him they are seeing a different kind of strength in him now; a strength of faith and character that far outweighs the importance of physical strength. It is a picture of Your strength that Kyle, Cris, and Cooper need so desperately. A strength that serves, and submits to a larger story.
1 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
There are so many physical choices Dave can no longer make – the choice to hike, to fly-fish, to ski, to golf. But he is doing hard and holy things. Each day he makes the loving choices he can – calling each of the many doctors and nurses by name, thanking them, affirming what a great job they’re doing, even as he is in tremendous pain. This is Your strength.
My sweet brother knows You as the Lover of his soul, and looks forward to spending forever with You, but he’s worried that if he dies, his boys will blame You. There are a million reasons why he wants You to heal him, but this may be number one.
He knows that in spite of how we may read our chapter, You see all the characters, all the plot lines, the beginning and the end and you weave them together for Your purposes. You are good and perfect, but we live in a world bent by sin, and that can leave us angry and confused and wanting to shout very bad words in frustration when the story doesn’t go the way we think it should.
Throughout the past months Dave has said repeatedly that You are the Holy Ghost-Writer of his story and he’s just a supporting character. Each day, he has shown up and waited for what You want to write. He’s looked for the moments to cheer You as the Hero. He’s been honest about the plot twists and turns that seem confusing, the times the Villain seems to be winning, times when he’d like to grab the pen back from You.
You are writing an epic Love story, while we sometimes want to settle for pulp fiction.
But David continues to trust You as the Master-crafter who already wrote the end to our story when You went to the cross. On Golgotha, we were afraid maybe You were writing a tragedy. Or maybe You weren’t the hero we thought You were. Maybe it was just a story of death. But it wasn’t. We waited and discovered three days later it is a story of Life. And it is a good story.