Strong, Firm and Steadfast
Have you ever been put in a time out?
God has been known to put people on a time out.
Israel was put in the proverbial corner for forty years in the desert
Joseph got thirteen years in jail and slavery.
King David was put in a time out as he ran around the desert trying to avoid being killed by Saul.
Even Jesus got forty days in the wilderness.
I’ve been in a time out for the past several months. My world has been the size of my recliner. It’s one of the main reasons why I haven’t blogged in awhile. Now normally when someone asks me, "How are you?" my default answers are…
“If I were any better I would be you.”
“I’m living the dream.”
“I’m chilling like a villain on penicillin.”
I can’t say any of that these days. I have felt tormented, crestfallen, discombobulated and vexed.
I was rushed to the ER between church services, with a rapid heart beat, around Thanksgiving, 2017. After several days in the hospital and thousands of dollars of tests, the doctors determined I have Hypervagotonia.
I would stand and my heart would jump up to 162.
I would walk and it would hit 192.
I would rest and it would drop down to 44.
In case you’re wondering, your heart is not supposed to look like the stock market. My adrenal gland and vagus nerve (which regulates the heart beat) are misfiring. In addition to controlling the heart rate, the vagus nerve also controls the digestive system. It’s referred to as "the rest and digest nerve." I have had lots of issues with my digestive system, including hyper food sensitivities. I feel like a diabetic living in a gingerbread house.
In the midst of all of this, one week after I returned from the hospital, my wife fell down the stairs and broke her ankle in three places (she’ll do anything to get out of laundry). Yes, she punched me when I told her that joke. Just moments before she fell down the stairs we were celebrating the fact that we had just paid off all of her previous medical bills. Talk about irony. We felt like a made for tv version of the life of Job, low budget though, so we couldn’t afford stunt doubles.
In all of this, I kept thinking about a verse,
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6
While I love this verse, there was one part that frustrated me, Peter doesn’t spell out what “due time” is. It could be a day, week or year, like when a teen says I’ll be out in a minute, we all know that’s not literally 60 seconds. Or your husband says there’s two minutes left to the football game… we all know that’s not 120 seconds.
One of the greatest gifts of Christmas since the birth of Jesus is Amazon prime two day delivery. In fact, my four year old likes Amazon more than Santa. He says, “Santa only comes once a year… Amazon comes a few times a week.” No lines. No uptight shoppers.
But with God you're not guaranteed a two day delivery.
While there's no footnote outlining just how long "due time" is, the promise is that if you humble yourself, at some point God will lift you up.
Peter goes on to say,
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10
No matter how bad things would get I would repeat those words…
God himself will make you strong, firm and steadfast. This doesn’t always mean physically… but it does mean spiritually. A great example is when Paul says, “outwardly we are wasting away but inwardly we are renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16) According to the doctors, it will take up to two years for my heart to regulate itself again. But in spite of my health being up and down and the need to take frequent naps… God has been a constant source of encouragement. God has given me the strength and steadfastness to accomplish all the things I have needed to during this season, including releasing my brand new book on April 3rd, 2018.
Where God guides, He provides… even when we are not feeling our best.