Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Great Is Thy Faithfulness!

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” - Lamentations 3:22-23


Lately I feel like we are living in “the twilight zone.” Actually we are living in “the secret place of the most high.” It is a surreal place I have never been. It is one of those places you can only get to when you realize the only thing you have left to hang on to is faith. You do not know from one moment to the next what is about to happen. But when all you have left is faith, you come to realize, that is all you ever really needed.

The “secret place of the most high” is not easily found. It requires a depth of believing akin to being pushed off a cliff and told to fly and then actually believing that you will fly. It reminds me of when I took my green belt test in karate and had to break a cement block with a swift chop of my hand (accompanied by a blood curdling yell.) The real test was not whether or not I could break the block. It was BELIEVING I could break the block. I did it!

But that was for fun. The blocks in front of me today are life and death matters. The blocks I believe I can conquer, have consequences much more painful than breaking my hand if I do not believe to the fullest capacity I can. And so, I have no choice but to believe that God is in control no matter what, and that whatever happens – it will be alright – it will all lead towards good.

I now understand what praying without ceasing means. I find myself praying even in my dreams. I pray when I wake up. I pray during my morning walks. I pray as I drive. I pray as I wait on appointments. I pray during commercials on TV. I pray as I listen to music. I pray as I cook. I pray as I wash dishes. I pray as I clean the laundry. I pray as I counsel. I pray at parties. I pray at funerals. I pray at football games. I pray as I bathe. I pray as I massage Johnny’s aches and pains. I pray as he falls asleep. I pray as I fall asleep.

Yesterday Johnny started on new chemo – this is the third line defense. The tumor continues to grow. However we continue to keep the faith. As long as they keep telling us they have more weapons to throw at the deadly pestilence that stalks Johnny’s body, we trudge forward with resilience of spirit. Our God is a mighty God and if David could fell the giant Goliath with a simple slingshot in the face of overwhelming odds – then we too can say that this battle is the Lord’s and we will simply rest under His pinion.

Two weeks ago we were blessed to take Johnny to one more Florida State football game. We haven’t used our season tickets all year. We have missed the vantage point from 45 yard line – 2nd row up seats, as we watch now only from our living room recliners. But it was good timing for the Virginia Tech game at home because Johnny had been off the chemo for several weeks and feeling frisky and determined to attend at least one more game.

So we gathered up our team garb and decked ourselves out ready for a battle in FSU shirts, hats, glasses and even jewelry! We put the Seminole magnet signs on each side of the car and packed the Seminole seats in the trunk. We prepared for any medical emergency with Mayo Clinic’s phone number, a thermometer, blankets for possible chills and Levaquin antibiotics in case his temperature soared away from home.

Scarlett joined us for this trip and for a moment in time it was like the good ole days when she would drive from college to meet us at the game and whoop it up with her Daddy as they hooted and hollered our team to victory again and again. We rolled through our ritual stop at Shell’s Oyster Bar in Tallahassee. Johnny couldn’t have the oysters raw on this day. Nor could he eat his usual quota of about 5 dozen. But all the staff embraced him with affection (they are like family) and shucked up a few dozen raw for me and Scarlett while Johnny enjoyed his steamed and fried.

Our next challenge was finding a parking spot anywhere close to the stadium so Johnny wouldn’t have to walk far. I decided if God declares we are to pray for all things great and small that included parking spaces in time of need so I decreed it in the name of Jesus that we would miraculously have just the right spot for Johnny appear.

Believe it or not we found the closest parking spot in our 10 year history of attending home games. The greater blessing was it was the last spot in the lot so we were the first spot next to the exit, which was crucial for us to be able to get out at halftime. The lot was right across the street from the stadium. This just DOES NOT HAPPEN on game day folks. Especially finding it minutes before gametime. But God has a heart!

We got to meet up at halftime with my brother Chip and friends for halftime hugs. But it was time to go after that because Johnny’s stamina was almost gone. On the ride back he gloried at the thrill of being able to go to the game. But he said that would be his last for the season. It was pushing his limits to the max.

And so we continue our journey here one day at a time. The new chemo brought in the flu like symptoms last night. Johnny went to bed early. I had to bundle him up in blankets to get rid of the chills. But he woke up this morning feeling better and now we brace for the unknown again. He will be getting two weeks of chemo on then one week off so we now plan our lives around a new schedule.

The mail continues to bring new cards and letters from old faithful senders and new people also. Some we know, some we don’t know. Either is thrilling to Johnny. He has so many cards and letters by now that I finally had to start putting some in baskets and consolidate them. I have run out of room on our walls. But every card and letter is precious to us. It is another reminder of God’s love. And packages continue to come with special surprises that make it feel like Christmas. I know this Christmas will be the best ever. The meaning will be so much more than the rest.

Of all the gifts I have come to appreciate the greatest gift is faith. Faith is a two way street. God’s faithfulness to us fuels our own faithfulness to Him in return. Faith quenches fear. Faith fires up our power from within to arrive at that special “knowing” that all is well all the time – even in the midst of chaos. But faith is a fire that must be stoked every single day. It is like a water pump from which we draw “living water” to nourish our souls.

Stop and think when things seem to be falling apart and you are at your wits end with things – have you been giving as much of your time and your heart to God as you have everything else? It is at these moments that I find I have been slacking. But every moment brings the opportunity to change course and get back on track to that peace that surpasses all understanding and to open the door to all the blessings that flow from being one with, the same as, and in tune with God’s thought.

Keep the dust off your bibles and fire up your faith by reading God’s word to us each day. It just makes sense to keep the guns of grace loaded and ready for whatever comes next.

Beautiful Blessings,

Rene Williams

5 comments:

sarah_e_cook said...

Rene,

Thank you so much for speaking God's heart. I need to hear that every day. I struggle to know what it really means to rely on God.

Mama S said...

Rene--I follow your blog and I hope that Johnny responds to the new chemo. I understand what you are going through and I pray for Johnny and you and Scarlett all the time. Hope Johnny has a good week.

Anonymous said...

Such beautiful words Rene! You inspire me each time I read them. I am still in prayer for Johnny and you & Scarlett! you are in my thoughts daily! Thank you for being so open and honest! Your words are like water to a desert- I soak each one up! Bless you Rene for all you are doing for your sweet husband!

Annie- Nashville

Anonymous said...

Hey--I was just wondering how Johnny is doing?? I have been thinking about him alot and praying for him> My love and prayers to BOTH of you. Being a caregiver is very hard. Bless you Rene.

Jaren said...

Thank you so much for your inspiration!
Love and prayers,
Jaren