A dear friend fell very ill yesterday. She’s been quite ill for some time, with no diagnosis, but yesterday at 5.30am her condition worsened dramatically. I had a text from her as I walked on the beach with the dogs and I hurried round to see her. She was exhausted by pain but resting. With a house full of grandchildren (one had been up in the night also ill, and I hadn’t slept afterwards) and a busy day planned, I set about arranging everything around my sick friend, the children, and the plans for the day. No time for coffee, I set off to an appointment 30 minutes drive away. Busy busy. Look how busy I am. As I arrived I had a call from my pal – her condition had escalated and she’d called the emergency services. Have you noticed how, when your heart is racing and speed is of the essence, every damn tractor and learner driver in the world is lined up before you? And they’re all idiots?
Busy busy. Out of my way, all you sluggards, meandering along, not a care in the world.
Poor pal. She was in agony, shaking, sick, pale, struggling to talk. It took the ambulance three hours to get here. With one brief glance at her she was loaded onboard and whisked away. And I, with years of nursing behind me, and more dead relatives than you can shake a stick at, was left tearful, shivering, exhausted. Where were the grandchildren? What had they been doing while I sat with the invalid? A text from one… she was walking into town. A text from another, she was about to walk into town. I felt I was losing my grip. Where was number three? Oh, that’s right, her phone was bust… where was she? Really losing my grip!
Busy busy. Take a breath. Feeling a bit dizzy now. Stressed. Have to deliver stuff… or do I? Couldn’t someone else do it? Who? Busy-busy me.
I have a note taped to my Mac, an email I received last year and it says ‘Meet God every morning, tell him you don’t have what it takes for the day, then put your trust in him and bravely step into the day. No excuses. That’s it.’ I can’t tell you how encouraging that email has been over the last few months. As someone who has lived alone for a quarter of a century, it’s become a companionable whisper in my ear. So, I sat in the car for a moment and did exactly as the encouragement prescribed. Gave it to God and trusted in him. No excuses.
Fab. Got back on track. Thank you, Lord. With the ambulance on its way to hospital and another friend meeting it there, I drove off to rescue the day that was planned, arrived at a women’s conference….. Busy busy me. Coping! See how well I am coping! Brmmm brmmm. Out of the way, everyone, busy person coming through.
And then, hah! I couldn’t do it any more. Regardless of the prayer, the email, my trust, I took one look at all those chattering, smiling women and turned tail and came home. Shaken. So, who had failed? God or me?
God never fails. He is always there. So, had I failed? Well, yes and no. I don’t think so but maybe. Erm.. what do you think? Sort of failed but met all requirements so…. half and half. We’re not perfect, we’re not designed to go without sleep, without a drink, hour upon hour in helpless panic. We’re not designed to be busy-busy and taking control of things we can’t possibly control. We’re designed instead to take those times and give them to God, as my email says to ‘bravely step into the day’. But we won’t get it right all the time, and when we get it wrong, God is there. He’s not there to wave a magic wand, or to make everything pink and fluffy and soft and cosy… He’s there to bring us through, to stiffen our arm, to remind us that we are helpless and He is everything. More than everything. He is unspeakably unimaginably everything.
So, I drove home, gathered the grandchildren one by one, sat in front of some mind deadening telly, and ate some chips.
My pal? She’s in hospital, high on morphine (lucky thing), on a drip, bunged full of antibiotics, and being cared for. I’ll see her this afternoon.
I slept on the settee last night (them pesky grandchildren again) so I’m a bit washed out. But I’m looking at that typed-out email between writing these lines and I know it’s a word from God himself. I don’t have what it takes for the day. I never have what it takes for the day. But God does, He always does.
The very last thing in that horrible yesterday was an email attaching an article for our community magazine. It’s the story of how one of our younger women come to faith – and it’s so fab! It just put a smile on my face, to see once again how God moves in our lives, us little creatures down here on the ant-hill….. how He works His great and amazing miracle. Oh, hey – don’t start me off on that again! This is the time of our miracle. Don’t start me off on that. But it is, isn’t it? This is the time of our miracle. The age of miracles is not past. If we know God we are in the middle of our miracle right now.
THIS IS MY MIRACLE NOW, sitting here at my desk at 7.35 on a Sunday morning and knowing the God of all creation. What greater miracle is there than that? And all made possible not by me, but by God Himself and by His Holy Spirit. Hah! Here! At my shabby old desk! Here in the grey light of a West Wales morning.
Seriously, folks – don’t start me off on that again! I’ll put my soap box away and take the dogs to the beach instead. Thank you for being there, part of my miracle.