Hold on to Nearness
When the call from the doctor came I prayed that split second petition one more time, “Prepare my heart for the words I’m about to hear.” And then I sat down to write the long medical words so I would get them straight.
- Cirrhosis is not even mentioned in the report.
- No indication of fibrosis.
- Mild inflammation.
- Schedule a follow-up in several weeks.
- Reassure the patient that this is good news.
Because this was so contrary to the blood tests and such a contrast to our last consultation with the doctor, I summarized it back to her to hear her reassurance again.
- Not mentioned at all?
- No indication of the beginning stages?
- Not necessary to see the doctor right away?
- Good news … Easy news.
Then two emotions surged over me almost simultaneously. Gratitude – that I would not need to endure the rigors of that particular health issue at this point – and desperate desire – to hold onto the close companionship that I’ve known in these days of waiting.
Along with the immediate and overwhelming rejoicing at the easy news there was a “but, wait… I don’t want to let go of this nearness.” Because the good news can be bad news if it entices me to wander into self-reliance. I do not want that to happen. That would be fearsome.
And I do fear. I fear distance from Jesus. (NOTE: Fear is not bad; it is a God-given emotion. See further explanation at the end of this post.)
The details of life that swirl around are inconsequential if I am only I can be conscious that He is with me. He is present. He is near. Nothing else matters if I can live with that awareness.
Truly – one thing I have learned is that His nearness eclipses everything else. Everything. If I am right next to Him, everything else fades. The cacophony of chaos becomes white noise. The flashing strobes of fear become veiled twinkle lights. The incessant pounding of “what ifs” only pushes me deeper into His comforting embrace.
I must have the nearness. And I know if there is distance, it is not Him who has moved.
Now, I realize that sometimes the news isn’t easy. Sometimes the reports are ominous. And given the fact that we are living in a broken, sin filled world, we can all expect times that are solidly Not Easy. But even at times when He is writing a different kind of faith story than the one He brought me this week, our anchoring truth is the same. He is Sovereign. He is good. He is enough. He is near.
And that makes all the difference. Hold on to nearness. Even on easy stretches of the road.
But the Lord GOD helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
So this morning I have been listening to Draw Me Nearer, Lord.
And I’m seeing constant reminders that He is near. Like this baby tomato from Sue’s garden.
And this amazing sunset from Paula’s back deck.
And this cobweb from outside Lisa’s lake house.
And the night sky through our trees.
“May I sense Your nearness and hold on to it.”
NOTES on fear:
Fear is a God-given prompt to tell us to proceed with prudence. We are not to proceed with a cowardly spirit. But we are to proceed facing reality and calculating the risks and measuring the resources – with a sound mind. We are not to live fearfully but rather we are to live with courage and prudence.
God has not given us the spirit of cowardice but of power, and love and a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7
Proceeding with a sound mind helps us to know whether to avoid a situation or to approach it.