My father has been in the hospital twice in the last six weeks. The first time was in the middle of October. He has heart problems. Sadly, his heart is weak and its bad enough that the doctors are reluctant (translation: will not) to operate on him. The doctors are, and rightly so, afraid they wouldn't be able to get his heart started again.
The second time was last week. He passed out at home on Wednesday. Luckily I was home and behind him when it happened. He started to feel poorly and thought he was having a diabetes low (my dad has a plethera of health problems... thank God for the good health insurance he got from the church). He was headed back to the bathroom to put away his blood checking kit when he passed out. I was walking behind him because he was none too steady on his feet. I was surprised at how quicly I fell upon camp training I had when I was in college and had to learn CPR and how to spot someone when they fell back. I caught him under his armpits and lay him down gently (his feet started to kick violently as soon as I did that-- he came to quickly and almost clunked his head against mine, too). He was disoriented and pale. I called to my mom to contact 911. There is a firehouse and rescue squad literally around the corner. The 'squad was there before my mom hung up. He was strapped to a heavy duty gurney and whisked off to St. Francis Hospital. By the time I got to the hospital he was already tucked into the ER.
My dad has a defibrulator in his chest, he had another problem two years (he passed out in church a few months after we moved to Indy). At the ER doctors realized that his defibrulator was set too low. Basically there are two wires that go into my father's heart. One goes into the top of his heart and the other goes into the bottom. The bottom wire was set too low. So, with a little abracadabra and a "remote control" his defibrulator was fixed.
Does all this mean that my father is going to die next week? No. Hopefully, Lord willing, he will be around for many more years. As you can imagine, though, I have been a bit shaken up the last few weeks. One never likes to think about the eventual death of a parent. I liken the feeling to the first time one realizes that their mother and father actually had sex to conceive them (of course then its only that ONE time...) you know what I mean.
What does this all have to do with the title of this particular post? Its as good a place as any to start, I suppose. In Psalm 94:19 are these words: "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." Isn't that the truth. I didn't start praying for real until about six or seven years ago. I was a camp counselor and I had a cabin that was, to say the least, trying my patience. I was broken down and I had to reach out for something or someone. I didn't have a gun handy so I decided the best thing would be to pray. So I did. I remember waking up early and walking into the bathroom one morning and sat down on the floor and just opened up. I asked for guidance and assurances and patience... and more patience... by the time I was done I laid it all out. I don't remember making any demands or deals I just asked for "help." Or maybe James said it best: "... The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" James 5:16(b). I don't know if I was a particularly a righteous man, but I needed help. It was some of the good old fashioned ask, seek, knock stuff. I was answered, I found, and the door was opened that day.
I have been praying. Talking to God and asking for guidance and assurances. I don't know if that's the best way to go about it, but I have been. My faith has become stronger and the little pilot light is buring brigher. That's a good thing because I tend to be a natural cynic with the attitude of "prove it," or "show me." My father is doing well, he is up and about. I took him the mall today so that he could walk a bit. He's nervous to drive by himself (I think that is a healthy nervousness, too).
I've got more thoughts on faith bouncing around in my head that'll I will be writing about in the near future, but until then I'll leave you with this, one of my top favorite scriptures, Ephesians 3:21:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.