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Friday, March 27, 2015

The Real Definition of Maturity...

I been finding myself getting very frustrated in the middle of the night for the last week or so.  During this time my wife has been waking up – well, actually she doesn’t wake up but I do – sounding very congested with the occasional cough to clear it out.  It seems to last for up to an hour or so and then it’s over!  This action has happened before over the last year or two but not with the regularity we are experiencing now.  With the concern over the potential of the onset of pneumonia, I made an appointment with her GP about a month ago, and as with the other appointments for the same problem with her doctors in California, her new doctor out here performed a thorough examination and could find no cause for concern.
Everything was normal with her respiratory system and her chest was clear.  Once again as before, it is thought to be caused by allergies and/or not completely swallowing her food at dinner.  Then a couple of weeks ago I sent an email to her doctor informing her of the increase in the regularity of the problem and she sent me some additional ideas on dealing with the situation.  Since that period of time I make sure that she has finished eating at least two hours before bedtime, added a particular type of allergy medicine to her regiment and I purchased a cool mist humidifier. 
The frustration that seemed to come to a head in me last night is that all the changes don’t seem to be working!  Each night I get up around 3:00 AM when it happens and raise her pillow and rub a bit of Vicks VapoRub on her. It’s a little funny in that even the dog has been getting into the act!  She seems to know that her favorite master is having a problem and sticks her head up to Piper’s pillow and licks her face.  Then as if she’s trying to tell me to get up and do something, she comes over to my side of the bed and sticks her wet nose and tongue in my face.. and then just stands there staring at me until I get up!
Last night after getting up three or four times, I finally walked into the hall way and cried out to the Lord… giving into the frustration and a shade or two of self-pity that I was working up!  I emphatically stated: “Lord I’ve done everything and it isn’t working… What do I do?”  Then as I stood there quietly, I felt the Lord saying: “Are you implying that there is nothing else that I can do?”  That thought quickly put me to rest and while I can’t say that I received any revelations of what to do or that Piper’s breathing pattern instantly changed, His peace flooded my being and I climbed back into bed.  The next thing I knew it was about six o’clock and Piper was breathing quite comfortably and normally!
That incident came back to my mind this morning as I read Philippians 3:15 from the God’s Word © translation.  It says that “whoever has a mature faith should think this way, and if you think differently, God will show you how to think.”  This verse really captured my attention as I understood that everything discussed previous to it is an example of mature faith.
Verses 1-14 encourage us to be full of joy, to be humble, to keep our eyes foremost on Jesus, to stay open to change and the possibility of learning new things while not gloating on past accomplishments or failures and to realize that you may not always know all there is to know about any given situation.  Above all, that your goal is to always seek and follow God’s will and designated purpose… in other words like we discussed yesterday, to be and stay flexible in your Christian walk so as to be empowered through His love working in and then through you to others!
I have mentioned on numerous occasions how my faith and personal understanding of truths that I have developed and held for many years was greatly challenged during the first year following the negative diagnosis of my wife’s health.  Many if not most of my preconceptions of how I thought things would go, of how I thought those close to us would respond and most surprisingly some scary things that arose in me because of their response, shattered my spiritual and emotional well-being.
I must admit that it has taken a long time to sort through and pray over all these things.  My life has been on a wild roller-coaster ride of emotions, frustration, hurt, understanding and then healing as I’ve grown progressively closer and more intimately acquainted with Christ's love for me and Piper.  After some forty plus years as a Christian I think that I am finally beginning to grow up in my faith!  Since 2009 I have had to deal with and come to a personal understanding of just about everything that the Apostle Paul discussed as the marks of a mature Christian in Philippians chapter three.
And you know… it is not really my place to judge those who may or may not have not acted according to Paul’s definitions, for it seems that when you point ONE finger at someone else you are also pointing THREE back at yourself!  The only person whose actions that I am responsible for is ME!  So, in many respects I am thankful for those who unknowingly helped me to take a hard and LONG look at myself!  Like I said, what I saw was pretty scary and I think it really forced me to “Man UP!” and make the changes that I vividly saw were necessary for me to make in order to run and win the race that Christ Jesus has set before ME!  Have a wonderful weekend.  Stay in tune to God’s Word, and keep asking yourself… “What, in Whom or How am I expecting to be mature today?”

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