I have always understood that I would grow older, and, whereas, both of my parents lived into their 90’s, I figured it would be a long, long process.  I even understood that it would, more than likely, be one thing after another.  What I didn’t expect is all the things, all at once.  Since reaching my 60’s, it has been a lot… of everything.  Like my mother, my hair is still primarily its natural color, but I have developed her type 2 diabetes, and like my father, I am pretty active for someone my age, but It also appears that I have gotten his likelihood for skin cancer.  And that is where I sit today.  It is a beautiful summer day, and I am sitting inside looking over my nose which had the tip cut off while my foot remains elevated as it heals from having a melanoma removed.  This, in addition to my work becoming more complicated and my kids starting the growing pains of being an adult, have put me into an emotional state that it took me a long time to define:  despair.

If you know me in real life, you are probably aware that I tend to be annoyingly optimistic.  My wife has come to call me “Pollyanna.” (Young people:  Google it).  But lately, I have been feeling anxious and stressed.  One example:  my diabetes can cause problems with my surgical wounds healing properly which causes me anxiety which can cause my blood sugar to be higher… and around and around it goes.

I’m not sure how to deal with this.  My temper is short; I’m seeing things as disappearing rather than growing, but more damaging is the thought that I am questioning the role of God in all of this.  I am fully aware that God has a much larger vision of my life than I can possibly understand, but Dude!  Where are you?  So much of church messaging is about the presence of God everywhere, all the time.  This presence is meant to provide us with hope.  We are given the image of God constantly and consistently holding our hands in comfort.  But I had reached a stage where I need more than comfort, and hope was not enough.  When are You going to act?

It all came to head when some one important to me met with a simple accident at a time when that was the last thing he needed.  It was a small thing, but it was the latest in a string of things that was starting to affect his life in very costly ways.  It was this moment that I did the unthinkable.  I know that Jesus tells Satan in the wilderness that “you should not put God to the test,” but that is exactly what I did.  In my mind, I saw very clearly that if God had just given my friend a 1 second message to stop, or had him turn the car a few degrees more, all of this could have been prevented, so I challenged God, “If you want me to still believe, how are You going to fix this?  Where is my miracle?”  It was stupid; it was vain; it was more than likely sinful, but that’s where I was.

God had every right to cut me off, to cause me to look at how much he had blessed me and everyone I love with grace and mercy beyond description.  He could have challenged me to take a look at who I truly was and grow weary.  He did none of that.  Two days after my cries to my father, my friend called me to let me know that the accident had been the best thing that could have happened in that moment.  It caused him to have honest conversations with people who were important to him.

Well, there you go.  Thank you very much, I guess.  God had taken my sin and used it to show me that by holding my hand, He is doing more than comforting me; He is guiding me at every step.  He may not part Edinboro Lake to give me a shorter walk to work, but he does provide me simpler, daily miracles.  Like Jesus says in Matthew Chapter 6, “Do not be anxious about your life…Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap… and yet your heavenly father feeds them.” (26) So, I have created a list of the miracles that God has sent me in my despair.

  • Doctors trained and qualified to remove these cancers from my body
  • A wife who not only loves me, but was trained as nurse and so doesn’t make a yucky face when she cleans my wounds.
  • God gave my absolutely no sense of personal style so I can still be of the belief that I look cool in a gigantic, turquoise sun hat.
  • An understanding that God is not the cause of my depression, but my distance from Him is directly caused by it.

So, if you ever see me, I will be the guy eating a salad, with 70 SPF sunscreen under the shade of a fabulous hat.  I may not be all the way back yet, but I’m pretty sure that I am facing the right way.

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