It is amazing how things come up in life that completely take us off guard. It is amazing that we get
taken by surprise as much as we do given that there are so many variables in life. Yet, each off guard moment is a powerful and awakening reminder of how feeble and frail we really are.
My "surprise" moment came on just the second day of this new year. We were having a wonderful time heading back to PA after spending some much needed vacation time during the holidays. We stopped in Virginia at a hotel, swam in the indoor pool, ate pizza together as a family, and watched some tv. All was well. At around 10:30 pm, however, I was awoken by a heaviness in my chest and trouble taking deep breaths. I wasn't sure what to think! Mind you, I'm only 34 years old! I woke up my wife who was half dazed and told her my symptoms. We were both completely taken off guard! Anyway, to make a long story short, I headed to an emergency medical clinic which, providentially, was located within walking distance right behind our hotel! All of the tests they ran came back normal. The next day, after arriving at home, I continued to experience the same symptoms and they seemed to be increasing so back to the emergency room we went that night. Again, all of the tests came back normal so still no answers.
Later the following week, I went to my doctor who referred me to a cardiologist where more tests were run. All of my tests came back normal. My wife and I were praising the Lord that I have a good, healthy heart but were and are still left scratching our heads as to what this must be. As we still are pursuing answers with our doctor, I want to share with you that while I do not know, medically, what is causing my problems, I do have assurances, spiritually, as to what God wants to accomplish in my life.
I remember that first night, being nervous, laying on the medical clinic bed searching my mind for answers as to why the Lord was allowing this. The one thing that came to mind was this: God is pursuing me. I have preached this truth over and over again to our church congregation. God lovingly intervenes in our lives, even through difficult situations and circumstances, to pursue us and draw us closer to Himself. Yet, now it was and is time for me to live this out and go through this. How would I react in the midst of difficulty and trial? Would I look to Him and allow Him to draw me closer to Christ or would I be consumed with myself and draw me deeper into the narcissistic "woe is me" mentality? The answer to these questions have yet to be answered as I walk daily by faith. But I do know this: God wants my heart in deeper and more intimate ways. He will lovingly pursue me no matter how far I run, how much I recoil, or how independent I feel. This is exactly what I need.
This is where the gospel meets us everyday. It shatters and exposes us in our sin and need for someone outside of ourselves to be our rescue. It reveals any misconceptions that "we are enough". It tells us of One who loves us so much that He would pursue us even to the point of sacrificial death. It invites us to relinquish our self dependence, self reliance, and self interests in exchange for a marvelous rescue and relationship for which we have been created for. A loving God could do no less than reapply the gospel to our lives over and over and over again. Praise the Lord for His divine pursuit!
(It has been a while since I have written on here! I do intend on keeping up with my blog so pardon the longer period of silence.)