Life is beautiful and rich, especially when we meditate on God and His blessings.
Life is serious and hard, especially when we find ourselves in the furnace.
Both are true on any given day. It's a matter of how I choose to direct my brain.
Some days that's a whole lot easier than others. Know what I mean?
Let's take yesterday. The report from the surgeon about the cysts on Curt's kidney was a mixed bag. The growth is so involved that to remove it will necessitate taking the kidney as well. The drawback is that if the smaller cysts on his left kidney act up at any point, Curt will become kidney-less. The cystic structure doesn't appear to be cancerous though the only way to tell is to take it out and send it to pathology. It would be reasonable to leave them in place, but only with more detailed information that an MRI could provide.
Nope, can't do that.
The US medical community won't perform an MRI unless it's clear what kind of stent was placed in Curt's heart. If it's the wrong kind of metal, the MRI machine will rip it out of his chest and he'll die.
That means the next little detour will include communicating with the doctors at Motol Hospital in Prague to find out exactly what kind of stent Curt has. Thankfully we have dear Czech friends who will undoubtedly be pleased to pursue this task with alacrity. (go look it up) ;-)
And so . . . again . . . we wait.
Maybe the reason this is a particularly difficult delay is because I was convinced yesterday's appointment would result in a definitive answer about the future. Whatever the cause, I was assailed all over again with "if only" and "what if" thoughts. It didn't make for a restful night though I did sleep more than usual.
And this morning the battle continues to rage in my head.
All of that is the backdrop for my time in John 12.
It's not really a surprise to me that someone spoke up about the extravagance of Mary using perfume to wash Jesus' feet. I might have been holding my breath. I think I'd at least have wondered how many other ways the perfume could have been used. That's just me.
In any event, there was a challenge to the choices Mary made about her energy, her time, her attention, her actions, and her resources all granted her by God.
There she was doing exactly what she felt was appropriate and yet she found judgement. You know, I think I have an idea about how she might have felt.
There seems to be a general idea that someone's behavior is open for evaluation and comment whether it's desired or not. And even if it's requested, there's some sort of undercurrent that says, "And you better follow my suggestion."
What's that all about?
I understand that God puts His people in families and unites families in churches. I'm aware that there are many places where Scripture teaches the wisdom of gathering counsel from reliable brothers and sisters in Christ. And yet, the Word also describes God's work in our lives as intimate and personal. So how do we find our way; me, Curt, us, you, anyone?
I do not have a nice, pat, in-three-easy-lessons answer to that question. I do know that God directs the steps of those who love Him, using our obedience as well as our rebellion to accomplish His will and prepare us for heaven. I know His goodness abounds and that as much as I love Him, He loves me infinitely more. And I know that sometimes He takes me places other people don't understand or appreciate.
Today, in this trying set of circumstances, the words that jump out to me are spoken by my Savior. He knows Mary's heart as fully as He knows His Father's will. He knows Mary's future as fully as He knows her present. I am blessed by Christ's coming along side Mary to support her in the midst of condemnation.
"Leave her alone."
These are the words I want to hear when I am attacked by threatening thoughts, draining demands, terrible trials, a critical culture, and more. And so I turn my brain back toward heaven. I listen for the voice of the One who knows me . . . and all the interference turns to whispers. I have the support I need. Hallelujah and Amen
"But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 'Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages.' He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
"'Leave her alone,' Jesus replied. 'It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.'" John 12:4-8
How is Jesus supporting you today?