Job 23:1-3 Then Job answered and said, Even to day
[is] my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my
groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find him!
that I might come [even] to his seat!
One year ago today, December 11th, I had a stroke.
I share the following brief details, not to gain sympathy, but because so many people have questions. I am not one to update people daily on Facebook.
In early January (of 2013), while at Younkers Rehab, my body had a severe complication, perhaps from using too many medicines in an effort to lower my blood pressure and a heart rate that was too slow. My kidneys went into failure, and I spent several days in intensive care and had 3 rounds of dialysis and then had a pacemaker put in. By February, however, I was well enough to go home. Within a few weeks, I was walking by myself (with a cane) up to 200 or 300 feet.
But since then, my physical health has deteriorated, due to many other problems, including lack of sleep (1-5 hours a night, due to Central Sleep Apnea,) chronic pain and and a heart rate that remained too high. Some medicines helped on one hand, but caused more symptoms on the other.
People frequently ask how I am doing, and I am grateful for that, but I am no longer counting on relief of my physical suffering. Rather, like Joni Erickson-Tada, I have grown to be much more focused on my life with Christ.
At times, my spiritual troubles have been much worse than my physical ailments; I felt like Job did, as quoted above. (I admit it is a play on words, Job meant a stroke of punishment meted out by God). I have many sinful habits and much wrong thinking to overcome. For example, I spent one whole night wondering in desperation, whether I was being disciplined to prepare me for glory, or given a taste of hell to prepare me for eternal punishment. The faith God has granted, finally assured me it is the former.
I have learned to appreciate doctors (especially, Dr. Leighton Frost in Newton, my family doctor), therapists and nurses. We have had dozens, and only a few weren’t up to snuff and nearly killed me. But, seriously, I have also learned that they can’t do everything. I need to take responsibility for myself: researching medicines, monitoring my symptoms, etc.
I watch, while the world’s best caregiver – my wife – is unable to meet my everchanging and selfish whims and fancies. Judy is also a gem of a grandmother, daughter, sister, and mother to all her family, somehow reaching out to them, even though I am a full-time job. She is tired, but her enduring love for the Lord (and me!) strengthens her. We have both learned patience (she more than me). We’ve laughed more than we have cried, and even some of those tears were tears of joy.
We have never been closer, sharing sermons we listen to and articles we have read. The wonders of Jesus our Savior, the glories of heaven, His divine Providence (ordering all things for the good of His people) and the need to reach out to others have been become especially precious to us.
Politics seem less important than before and the church more important, hence my paucity of posts on CT, but we are still praying for our neighbors and family members who know not the Love of Christ.
Our pastor, Mike Ericson, and church family at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Johnston, have been so generous (along with the readers of Caffeinated Thoughts) and we have seen God provide in truly astonishing ways through them and through our business. We are thankful for each one of you.
All in all, it has been the best year of my life.