Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hang On - A Maple Leaf Story

Yesterday I awoke tangled in a web of emotional upset and inescapable stomach pain. I was on the edge of a break down and I knew it. I did my best to soften the crash but my attempts were futile. The physical distress caused by my latest round of Lyme treatments hit me with such a powerful force, ravaging my gut so severely, my emotional stability didn't stand a chance.
After a morning spent in fits of anger and tears, I found myself behind the wheel of my car eager to drive away from my pain. I knew I wouldn't find relief on the road but I was desperate so before I put the car in drive, I put my head on the steering wheel and prayed.
What proceeded from my mouth was far from eloquent but it was sincere. First I begged God to relieve my stomach's pain. "Right here, right now, God. Touch me and make me well!" I petitioned for a miraculous, instantaneous healing and then I paused, waiting for Him to act.
When I didn't feel a hand or hear a rumble of thunder I went back to my prayer. Picking up where I'd left off I proceeded to plead with God. "If you won't heal me, at least give me a sign! God, give me hope!"
This time I didn't pause to hear God's response and I didn't linger in His silence. I lifted my head and put the car in drive. When I opened my eyes I noticed something stuck to the windshield of my car. It was a little yellow maple tree leaf.
The leaf was all alone, the only remnant of fall stuck to the glass, and it was perfectly positioned in the center of my line of vision. As I began to accelerate the car's engine I expected the fragile leaf to blow away in the wind. There was no storm or rain to pound the leaf into the glass. Nothing held the leaf yet it didn't budge. Even when I I sped up and slowed down the hardy little leaf stayed stuck.
And that's when I saw it. That little leaf was my sign. That little leaf was me!
Filled with hope, I threw my car into park at the first red light, jumped out of my seat and grabbed the leaf off of my windshield and put it on my dashboard as a keepsake of God's promises. The leaf would be my covenant of God's healing, reassuring me that He would keep me secure and deliver my body from anguish. In the leaf God reminded me to, "Hang on. Your healing is imminent." 
For the rest of the day my heart held the message of the leaf long after I held it in my hand. Even when hours passed without any change in my physical condition I refused to release the hope I received in the maple leaf. When evening came and a miraculous change didn't transpire, I reclaimed God's promise and went to sleep full of hope, convinced renewed restoration and alleviated pain would come in the morning.
But then morning came and my gut dealt my spirit a most devastating blow. The excruciating pain announced that my healing hadn't been delivered.
Hopeless and crushed I called out to God. "Why have you abandoned me?...Why have you left me in this debilitating condition?..."
Without healing, my heart turned hard. I couldn't even bring myself to ask for a sign. 
Hours passed in tears and anger and I didn't remember the little yellow leaf or God's promises. I didn't want to remember. I felt too abandoned, neglected and doomed to let my mind hope for healing or claim restoration.
It was hours later when, without a petition or pathetic prayer, God delivered His sign with a mysterious and miraculous crash. 
A display case slid off a nearby table and fell to the ground, scattering a stack of papers across the floor. For a moment I hesitated, too defeated to clean up the mess. But then a little voice inside my head called out and insisted I rise up and help clean up.
And that's when I saw it. My sign. 
It was the only paper of its kind in the whole stack and it was laying on top, glowing in golden hues. Printed on the special paper was a design of little yellow maple leaves. I picked it up and held it in my hand, overwhelmed by awe and wonder. This paper featured the very same shape, size and color of the maple leaf I had found stuck to the windshield of my car. The message it delivered was the very same too.
"I have no abandoned you. Hang on. I am doing a new thing. Your healing is STILL imminent." 
Hours have passed since I found that paper and I still have it in my pocket and, although I still have the pain in my stomach, more powerful than the pain is God's promise of hope I have in my heart.
The promises of God endure no matter the evidence of healing or the state of my physical condition. In the maple leaf God has reassured me that no matter what my circumstances or what trials befall my body or soul, He will not abandon me. He will remain forever true to His word. He will never cease His work of healing, renewing and making all things new.
Come what may, my hope is in God's truth and my health is in His hands so I will hang on and cling to His promises because I know the Lord my God is doing a new thing in me.

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