Monday, June 4, 2012

The show must go on

Let's be honest, who doesn't want life to be easy? I highly doubt that many people sit around wishing and praying that they will face adversary and trials. We want butterflies and roses. We want smooth sailing. Trouble is no fun. It is emotionally and physically draining. If we all had the choice of having days consisting of happiness and ease wouldn't we choose that over difficulty and sadness?
Yet, life isn't that simple. Trials aren't contingent on whether or not we ask for them. They come unannounced and without welcome. Even if they aren't wanted, they make their way in. Trials are like termites: they permeate the premises. They invade.
My trial has come, left and come back again. It has left me weary and worn out. There have been days I haven't wanted to get out of bed or off of the couch. My will to go on has faded. How much longer will I have to live in this body with these physical challenges and abnormal symptoms? How much longer will I struggle to have proper digestion? How much longer will I be stuck at this weight, freezing without the body fat to keep warm?
Any strength I've had hasn't come from my own human power. What little human stamina I had is long, long gone. I have faced each day only by the grace of God. But still there are days when my human failing gets the best of me. I want to give up, close up shop and go home. I want to curl up in a ball and just cry until the storm passes. If I just wait it out long enough will it go away? If I just close my eyes and go to sleep will I wake up and find that this was all just a terrible, horrible dream? But each morning I am reminded that this is reality. I am reminded that I can't escape my own body. I am stuck here, in this physical state for only God knows how long.
Each morning, the suns rays shine through my window and once again tell me that God's will is for me to be in the midst of a storm. No matter how beautiful it looks outside, my body is still in a state of turmoil. Even when the world around me looks like perfection I still feel the devastation my body has endured. And the toughest part is that I don't understand why it started in the first place. I have no idea how long it will continue.
This weekend I went to my cousin's wedding in Columbus, Ohio. I had been asked to sing at the ceremony about a month ago and of course, told them I would happily do so. At the rehearsal for the ceremony I had to leave before it even began. In the cold sanctuary my blood pressure was dropping and my body was going into shutdown mode - a phenomenon I have become way too adept at detecting. Still, I knew I would sing the song the next day at the 2:30 ceremony. No matter how badly I was feeling the night before I knew in my heart that I would pull through the next day no matter what.
Saturday rolled around and my mind was focused on the task at hand: sing this song without any hint of the trial on my physical body. I didn't want to stand in front of all the guests and appear to be in the midst of a struggle. I wanted every person in attendance to hear a song for a bride and groom and feel the love between the two about to exchange sacred vows. I wanted to fade away behind a melody. I wanted to paint a picture with lyrics of love and passion.
My physical limitation didn't matter in those moments. When the piano began to play my weight didn't matter, my digestion didn't matter, my blood pressure didn't matter and my weakness didn't matter. All that mattered was the tune, the meaning and the glowing bride and groom.
And, you want to know what? It was flawless. Dad, my piano player, didn't miss a note and played at the perfect pace. I didn't fumble over a single word and hit every note. I was able to sing each word with emotion and feeling but never once did I think about the trial in my own life. All I thought about was love - but not the love of husband and wife. I have a secret: I thought about the love of God for me, not the love of Brian and Angela, the couple exchanging rings and vows.
When I sat back down in my seat my mind wandered to five little words: "The show must go on."
It isn't just true in theater. It isn't just true when there is a stage and a microphone.
The show must go on each morning when the sun rises.
The show must go on when my body is weak and my spirit is burdened.
The show must go on when my body temperature plummets and my will to carry on wavers.
The show must go on because God hasn't given up on me yet. For whatever reason, he hasn't healed me yet and he hasn't taken me to heaven yet. He has me here, feet on the soil of this earth, heart bound with his in heaven. He has me in my human body, despite ill health. If God hasn't given up on me yet then I'm not giving up, either.
Tomorrow morning when the sun comes up it won't be a reminder that my physical body is still underweight, weak and frail. The sun's rays will remind me that God has given me the gift of another day to show how, with and through him, trials can be faced no matter how difficult they may appear. Even when our physical circumstances appear daunting and threaten to overtake us, we can walk confidently in the truth that God is faithful and powerful enough to sustain us when we are weak.
Each day is a chance to show the world that with God, the show can go on. And it will.

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