Lord, is it time for me to go home?
I asked this question a couple of weeks ago.
For those that don’t know what it means, it’s like “Christianese” for “Am I dying”, with an assumption that death will be followed by going to Heaven.
I was in the hospital – got admitted through emergency when they found a 7 cm area of infection. Lots of tests – 24×7 IV drips with saline and broad spectrum antibiotics. Since they didn’t really know what caused it – they also didn’t know how to treat it – so standard practice was followed.
After a few days of this, I had what might have been a dream, maybe a prayer, maybe ???
It started off with the question –
Lord, is it time for me to go home?
At the time, there was no reason for me to be asking that question – or even thinking about it. After the tests / procedures, there was an emergency surgery that went better than expected. It was all done with a few small incisions. The plan was to start with that, but the expectation was to have to make bigger ones in order to clean up the “mess”. It wasn’t needed – and the final prognosis is a 75% chance that it still won’t be needed. It seemed like all good news, given the situation.
But still – I was asking the question.
I received no answer from God, so I took that as meaning I should continue.
I said, “After all the times I would have welcomed a ‘Yes’ answer, I feel like I have more to offer here”.
If you’ve read anything I’ve written about my past, you would know that answer is shocking. There are times I wanted so badly to reach the end of this life and go to live in God’s Kingdom. To be saying I have more to offer here in this life instead of “going home” is beyond belief. And yet – I said it. It is something I’ve spoken to the senior pastor at church about – that I really should find ways to use the gifts God has given me. But here, when it comes right down to it, I was still surprised to “hear” me saying this.
God still had no response, so I continued.
“If you want me to come home, I’m OK with that. If you want me to stay here and do more for you, I’m OK with that too. Whatever you want, I’m good with it.”
Amazing stuff – at least it was to me – hearing myself say that.
There was still no response from God.
Well – sort of. No yes or no answer. But there was something that started going through my mind right after that –
A psalm of David.
Ps 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
Ps 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
Ps 23:3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Ps 23:4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Ps 23:5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Ps 23:6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
During the darkest days of my life, I used to read (and copy) Psalms to keep myself going.
And now this one is coming to me.
Why? There wasn’t any reason for it.
At least – no reason that I was consciously aware of.
As I found out later – I was apparently going into septic shock. My liver wasn’t working quite as well as normal. My lungs were filling with liquid. My kidneys, as one doctor put it, “took a big hit”. Things were shutting down.
Even when I started to find these things out – like when they were adjusting medication to “kidney friendly” options to prevent renal failure – I wasn’t afraid. I was strangely very calm.
My primary doctor, who was the one that suspected the infection, told me, “We beat the reaper”.
It seems God really did answer, at least partly. The outcome was still in doubt – but God was with me, and I really was OK with whatever He chose for me.
It’s been three weeks since that night.
My liver is nearly normal. Only trace amounts of fluid are left in my lungs. My kidney functions are slowly going in the right direction, but are nowhere near normal. It turns out I had a staph infection. Recovery is slower than expected – still getting antibiotics via IV infusion. There is still concern that more surgeries will be needed. “Recovery”, at least as much as possible, is somewhere between 6 weeks and 6 months from now – depending on what happens.
But still – no fear. That is also very unusual for me. Just the thought of having to go to a doctor for a normal physical scares me.
Ever since I was a kid – one of my favorite passages from the Bible has been –
Jn 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I have always wanted that peace – but have never felt it.
It seems odd that after all these years, I would feel it – and especially under these circumstances.
And yet – it’s actually not odd at all. It’s maybe only under circumstances like these that we really can feel that kind of peace.
In the last couple weeks, so many things have come to mind to write about this experience.
They will be coming, but not at this moment. Energy is a bit short right now – this is about the limit for me. I also suspect it may be the limit for some (many?) readers. I don’t want to make this too long, because if this is part of what God has for me, I don’t want to lose people by writing too much at one time.