Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Waiting on God

God is good – All the time;
All the time – God is good.

While this can be a cliché statement in the church, and thus carries the danger of minimization that clichés can have, it doesn’t change the fact that it is TRUE. And it’s a statement that my mind is reminding my heart of tonight and will continue to do so in the days to come.

On Friday I was informed that my presence was needed (as the minutes taker) at a meeting at our other center starting on Monday. Sunday after church, I found out that the car I was riding in would be departing at 4 a.m. the next morning. No, I wasn’t thrilled…as I’m sure you can imagine! But I’m always excited to spend time with the Kobwin family so I was looking forward to that.

As my mom says, “expectations will get you every time!” :P

I don’t remember when my cough had started this time. I know I came down with congestion & a cough on May 13th after reporting a long event. But thanks to the nasal adjustment my osteotherapist gave me the next day, lots of vitamins and a few doses of Nyquil, I didn’t feel too bad during my safari trip that Mon-Wed.

This past Sunday afternoon, I again ended up reporting a long event. I came home absolutely exhausted, and at some point the cough had come back. So I took it with me to Kobwin.

In the meantime, one of my sisters here had walked through the painful loss of her first (early-term) pregnancy. She spent almost a week in the hospital before the staff confirmed that the baby was no longer alive or inside. Watching her and her husband walk through that was painful. But in the last week and a half, I have also been encouraged by their example and testimony. No, it’s not easy. It’s HARD. But I’ve seen them lean on God, give their baby back to Him, and grow stronger in their relationship with one another.

So on Monday of this week, I woke up really early and boarded the car. It was packed, since it was also serving as transport for a staff family moving back to that general area. We ended up making three unplanned stops – two dealing with tires (one tire went flat) and another for an hour and a half on the side of the road after a hose pipe busted (or something along those lines). Instead of reaching our destination at lunch time and starting meetings then, our van didn’t reach there until around 6 p.m.

I was exhausted and ready to crash, despite having slept some in the car. But the decision was made to meet from 8-10 p.m. that night. And I was staying with a Ugandan staff member in her house rather than at the guesthouse like I expected. Which was good, because otherwise I would have hardly seen her at all, but it came with its own challenges (namely, bathroom facilities).

I think it was that night that I felt how inadequate I was for the situation – and I started praying for God’s grace to sustain me through the next days. My hostess made apologies for the dust from the roof (papyrus matting) and for the rats that lived in the roof. Thankfully I really didn’t notice the latter, but I think the former exacerbated my cough.

A young boy who came with his dad in the van I was riding in had slept almost all day on Monday. That night, he had a high fever. So as I went to bed that night, that was my prayer focus – as well as thankfulness for a very positive update I had heard in the meeting.

The health of my relationship with God has really been under fire in the past months/year. I’ve kept trying to press through, and I’ve talked about it with my mentor here. But nothing had seemed to be shifting noticeably. In the past 2.5 weeks, I’ve been going through a Beth Moore Bible study, “Believing God,” in preparation for co-leading it with another lady here starting next week. Both this study and a book my mentor and I are reading through has been bringing to life the reminders about God that I’ve needed to hear again.

So on Monday night as I prayed for the little boy, I was so encouraged to notice a difference in my heart’s attitude. There’s not a concrete way to explain it, but my belief and faith were stronger that God could and would intervene, in His time & way. That encouraged my heart, and I know it wasn’t because of ME. It is God’s grace.

The next morning (yesterday), I was so blessed to hear that he was doing ok, and that he and his father had slept well (one of my specific prayer requests).

The meetings started at about 9 a.m. and continued with only three 45-minute breaks until 9 p.m. The heat at Kobwin (especially inside buildings during the day) meant that we met outside. Which also meant that my computer battery life ended up being something of an issue. So during the last two breaks I had to walk a few minutes away to the office, the only place with sockets at the center.

By break time (10:30 a.m., which always includes tea and snacks in Uganda), I noticed that I had a headache. Thankfully I always carry ibuprofen with me, so I took one. And the rest of the day, I found myself watching the clock for when I could take one again. Each one gave me about two hours of relief, enough to carry on my responsibilities, but I was not feeling great.

The meetings finally wrapped up, and I was told we would be getting up at 5 a.m. to leave for the long drive back home to Kasana. Oh bother. I was sad that the hectic schedule meant I had barely said three sentences to any of my friends there other than my hostess. Additionally, one of the families that I’m closest to wasn’t even around, they were on leave (vacation).

I went back to the house where I was staying, packed things up, and got myself to bed as fast as I could since I was once again exhausted. My cough kept me awake longer than I wanted, until the cough drop I took started helping. Then just a few hours later, I awoke again. My skin was hot to my own touch, but I was shivering in violent spurts. I pulled the heavy blanket over me, and tried to pray and sleep again. Twice, as I prayed for peace, I immediately felt my tense, shivering body relax. Thankfully it didn’t take too long to fall back asleep.

We got on the road at around 6 this morning, and thankfully the trip back was much less eventful. The van was also roomier, since obviously we weren’t taking back the load we had carried on the way up. So I was able to stretch out on a bench seat and sleep some. But coughing and the bumpy road were not kind to my headache, in spite of still being on ibuprofen.

We safely reached home at about 2 p.m. This afternoon was our weekly staff fellowship, and I went even though I still didn’t feel great. As I forced myself to unpack to clear off my bed, I couldn’t help but think about how the last time I felt healthy for an extended period of time was probably in early March, before my last Kobwin trip and before rainy season started.

Rainy season here for me brings frequent sneezing fits (especially in the morning) and a drippy nose. Probably a reaction to the cooler temperatures and mold.

An example of the latter: I have a pair of sandals I have worn very frequently over the past year and a half. Recently, I didn’t put them on for a couple weeks because I needed to do a bit of sewing on them to shorten the elastic straps. In the meantime, mold started to grow on my sandals.

On Sunday I had given them a good scrubbing (Oh, maybe that’s why my cough came back??), and they look so clean now! It’s funny how you don’t fully realize just how dirty something has gradually gotten until you clean it thoroughly.

Anyway, It’s been a rough three months, full of ups and downs health-wise. In my room, I have a calendar with the names of God on it. Interestingly, May’s name was Jehovah Rophe, “The God Who Heals.” As I looked at the calendar this evening, preparing to flip it, I had just taken my temperature to find that I have a slight fever for the third or fourth distinct time in the past three months.

My heart wanted to scoff at the promise I had welcomed so hopefully at the beginning of May. But then I re-read May’s verse: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity; who heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:2-3). I was struck by the order of that. It’s not God’s physical healing that has priority. No, it’s the spiritual healing that every believer has received which is primary. And it’s on that basis that I can proclaim God’s goodness tonight.

So even when I was struck by another fit of shivering as I wrote this post, even though I still have a fever (101 now), I can and will continue to proclaim God’s goodness. I can and will choose to be thankful for the many blessings I have received from God, which are too innumerable to count. And I can and will rest in my salvation by grace. On our long journey north on Monday, we witnessed multiple evidences of what a blessing that is. But that’s too long of a story for an already-mammoth post. Check out my ministry Facebook page on Friday for that.

As I close tonight, yes I would appreciate your prayers. But I find in my own heart the courage to pray “God, let Your will be done” rather than demanding that I feel perfectly fine when I wake up in the morning. First item on tomorrow’s agenda, sleep in. Second item, go get a malaria test. For the third time in as many months. If it’s like the other two times, the test will come back negative, but I’ll still feel crummy for an unknown length of time. But God is still good, ALL the time.

Thursday evening update: The blood test for malaria did come back positive this time, but that was almost a relief as then the treatment is obvious. I took my second dose this evening, four more to go.

1 comment:

ElizabethFS said...

Hey Esther,

I know this probably is not your most recent post, but God definitely lead me to read it today. Yes, God is good despite circumstances that are less than ideal. You and I are part of an amazing, everlasting story of Salvation and Grace all sustained by the goodness of the Only God.

I pray that God would give us both His perspective as we live today in his story.

I love you!
Lizzie McFlora