(ROCKWALL, TX — January 7, 2019) I spent 40 plus years caring for folks who had had heart attacks. In that period of time I honed my skills to know when they would go south with their symptoms, learning to anticipate their progress (or lack thereof) based on the area of their heart involved, lab studies, test results. I became good at being watchful for arrhythmias (rhythms of the heart that could produce serious consequences), treating them with pre-established protocols of medications, more often than not before emergencies arrived causing further heart damage.
I have always been out of my depth with cancer. There is no pre-set protocol that ALWAYS works. Cancer has a mind of its own. The heart is controlled by a carefully designed electrical system, that when treated carefully results in health…health of course that depends on how much muscle has been damaged.
But cancer doesn’t always play by the rules. Cancer doesn’t really care that some Stanford PhD has discovered antibodies that when injected into a mouse produce other antibodies that MIGHT kill rouge B cells which cause some forms of cancer. It’s what we casually call a “crap shoot”. I personally have never played “craps”, but I played Farkle New Year’s Eve. Blowing on the dice, shaking them violently, throwing them in a particular way had absolutely no bearing on how the numbers landed. NONE! Yet before I knew it, I had developed my own “style” of tossing the handful of black/white tokens, thinking that human effort had ANYTHING to do with how they fell. Pure folly!
I have two dear friends in a battle for their young lives. Each have a different form of cancer. Another young friend is struggling through the ravages of MS. A 10-year old foster child has received a heart transplant. The parents of that donor lost their 10-year-old on Christmas Day so this precious boy with a story that would be a best seller could have a new heart…a heart that is now failing.
Some believe that life itself is a crap shoot. I am not one of those folks. Regardless of cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, or heart failure, I will remind you as well as myself, “That people may know from the rising to the setting of the sun, the world over, that there is no one except Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing peace and creating disaster; I am the Lord who does all these things.’ Isaiah 45
I was reminded today that He does ALL things alone and absolute. He has a right to do ALL things because He is Creator. The clay pot doesn’t say to the Potter, “Why did you make me a gravy boat? I wanted to be a Wedgewood tea pot used by Queen Elizabeth for her afternoon respite! I’m pouting & chaffing in the china cabinet because they aren’t going to use me again until Thanksgiving ’19! What if they go out to eat or leave town for the holidays? I’ll just be useless & worthless in this cabinet!!!! Why did You make me a gravy boat???!!!!”
Another reminder, Paula, “For you are MY workmanship, My own master work, a work of art, created in Christ Jesus, reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used, for good works (to pour gravy…OR NOT) which I prepared beforehand taking paths which I set, so that YOU would “pour” in them living a life which I prearranged and made ready for YOU.” Ephesians 2:10
Because He made me a gravy boat, and because I have listened to and heard His reminder, I want to acknowledge to you that not only does He do all things and has a right to make me a gravy boat, but you also need to know that He does ALL things right. “He who has begun a good work in you will continue to perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus, the time of His return.” Philippians 1:6
When I’m silent & submissive (Oh, that’s a nasty word…worse that craps!), that gravy boat can be used as such a blessing…a vessel to pour out blessings on those whose disease is not following the play book or whose hearts are failing. I can even be filled with beautiful flowers offered to me by The Flower Box, blessing those that see the seasonal beauty used by this quiet, receptive piece of pottery with a handle.
I’m praying that these loved ones whose treatment has the appearance of a crap shoot will understand that the pressure applied by the Potter is conforming them into an Image of His radiance, that even this pain & lack of understanding can be used by Him to pour gravy, to pour a cup of cold water, or be a vessel through whom He pours His glory…even through the darkness as it longs for the Light.
Don’t just roll the dice. Pour the gravy.
That’s a good word.
By Paula Lively. Paula is a Volunteer Chaplain at Broadmoor Medical Lodge in Rockwall. She is a VERY retired RN who loves serving the residents at Broadmoor. She and her husband, Fred, have lived in Rockwall for 15 years.
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