One thing that I have learned as a 24/7 care-giver to my wife is the importance of routine and the keeping of a certain semblance of order in our lives! I have come to realize that sleep deprivation is just a normal part of the new set of responsibilities that I have very willingly accepted to make sure that Piper’s needs are met on a daily basis. But the downside of operating in this mode is the relative ease in which I can slip and fall into the traps of frustration, irritation and the noticeable absence of patience!
That’s why sticking to a regular schedule and/or routine, making a point to pick up after myself, keeping the home clean and orderly and making sure that things always get put back where they belong is so important to me. I may be tired, but the order and routine greatly help to lessen the possibilities of frustration and burn-out… while helping me to keep my eyes off of myself, to stay focused on meeting Piper’s currents needs and to keep firm and positive expectations of our stand of faith for her healing based on the promises of God’s infallible Word!
With all that said, this morning began off schedule! I originally woke up around 6:30 and quickly found myself thanking the Lord that I could sleep for another half hour before having to get up. But that extra sleep did not come easy as the dog was rolling around on the floor and bumping into my bed during the process. Then I could also hear Piper yawning in her bed next to mine and knew that she was awake as well. But I persisted in my quest for sleep and the next thing I knew it was 7:30 and I was a half hour late according to our new morning schedule!
So instead of being able to take my time to get up, get dressed and groomed, the coffee brewing and everything set up for Piper’s get up routine, I flew from the bed, quickly threw on some clothes, forgot about the coffee and opening up the curtains in the front rooms, and grabbed Piper’s clothes and other needs before joining her at the side of her bed! The nice thing was that although Piper had awoken earlier than normal, she was doing fine, was at peace, alert and seemed content.
As I sat down on my bed and began to share our morning scripture confessions with her, I had the sudden overwhelming sense of the peace and stability that came from the Word of God that I was beginning to share with her. Even though we were off schedule and I was rushing to catch up and restore some order to the day, His Word brought to me an instant calm, peace and rest. At that moment I just had to stop and raise up my arms while proclaiming thanksgiving to Papa God. I don’t know what it is, but I am one of those folks who can’t seemed to praise and worship Papa God with words of thanksgiving without physically raising up my arms in submission to Him.
I can still vividly remember a group of us worshipers standing hand in hand in a circle at the conclusion of a Watch-Night service on New Year’s Eve sometime in the late 1970’s at the Baptist church we attended and served as Youth Ministers, and slipping up my right hand as we sang a hymn. I didn’t even think about it at the time as it was an involuntary response to the anointing that filled that beautiful sanctuary that night.
What I did notice when I opened my eyes at the end of the song was the stares of those conservative Baptist saints that we were worshiping with! I was very thankful for the reassuring squeeze of confirmation that Piper gave my other hand in response to the wide eyes of the rest of the group! But you know… nobody ever mentioned anything about it and it may have acted as a catalyst to help others in that church to enjoy new freedoms in their public and private worship to God over the next few years amidst the influences of the burgeoning Charismatic Movement that was sweeping the denominational churches at that time!
I realized this morning at that moment of revelation, that I was very THANKFUL that God’s Word was one of the only things that never changed over the course of the years that we have been dealing with the physical changes in my lovely wife. Throughout all the radical ups and downs that we have been through, His Word has been the strong foundation, the rock that has kept us on track and focused on the plans He has set for us to follow. 2 Samuel 22:47 tells us that “The Lord lives! Thanks be to my rock! May God, the rock of my salvation, be glorified.” (God’s Word ©)
The life changing events over the last nine years have given Piper and I a whole new and greater appreciation of what it means to have THAT Rock as the foundation of our lives! Ephesians 5:4 says that “It’s not right that dirty stories, foolish talk, or obscene jokes should be mentioned among you either. Instead give thanks to God.” (God’s Word ©) The Message Bible concludes that verse declaring “That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style; (for) Thanksgiving is our dialect!”
Over the course of this experience in our lives, we have had some, according to this verse, “foolish talk” spoken to and about us to others. Albert Barnes defines “foolish talk” as “the kind of talk which is insipid, senseless, and stupid; that which is not suited to instruct, edify, profit” the situation or need at hand. Those words shook the world that I had come to depend on. I knew in an instant that some things had radically changed. At the time I didn’t have a clue as to why things happened as they did, but suddenly, certain relationships that I had and hoped to continue to depend on for physical, mental and spiritual support went up in smoke.
You talk about a strong California earthquake! But through it all, I quickly realized that God and His Word NEVER changes! I am thankful that the ROCK of our salvation is always the same, always there for us, always strong, always faithful to His Word and always able to penetrate any need, any hurt, any trauma with the strong embrace of His loving arms!
As I sat there earlier this morning and even now at the table in our dining room, I can’t help but continue to speak “our dialect”… the dialect of THANKSGIVING unto Papa God. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how much your world is shaking and how little you may understand the reasons why… that you and I can ALWAYS be THANKFUL that God is close at hand with the steadfastness of His Love, of His Word and of His power that overwhelms and overcomes the disturbances that we encounter in our daily lives!
So, go ahead… Take a moment right now and say it with me: “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Papa God… for no matter what, YOU are and always will be the Rock of my salvation!” Have a great weekend, stay focused and thereby THANKFUL to Papa God, and as you do, keep confessing: “I am Thankful to Papa God and expectant of His steadfastness, of His goodness, of His peace, of His wisdom and of His love for me each and every day of my life!” Give THANKS and don’t allow anything to cause you to become “Out of Order.”