Jesus the Spiritual EMT
“Oh, Christine! This isn’t how I imagined my retirement years would be. I was hoping to travel and enjoy my life, but all of that is gone.”
My dear friend was lamenting to me during a recent visit to her nursing care facility. She is two years younger than I am, and she relished reminding me of that fact every year as new birthdays arrived. But now her life was ebbing away because of a rare neurological disease.
What was I supposed to say? Fortunately she has a wonderful walk with her Lord Jesus and looks forward to that day when He takes her in His arms. But in the meanwhile, bitterness and sadness creeps in. It’s bound to.
It doesn’t have to be a life-threatening circumstance to jolt us into the reality of our existence. Failures in business, school, and relationships sap us of our confidence. Perhaps we lose a client or someone we care about. Or a family member, colleague or employee has a traumatic setback or loss.
We hear desperate cries: “How is this my life now?” “My life got stolen!” “What do you mean everything’s going to be all right? Seriously? How can you ever say that?” Anything we offer sounds so hollow.
This reminds me of Job’s friends who chose to counsel him and offer their advice. Of course their words of “comfort” always included a dig about what he must have done to deserve these calamities. Job’s friend, Zophar, said, “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face…” (Job 11:13-19). Like Job, we wonder “Why me?” “Why that person?” It doesn’t seem right.
I have watched the response of many people who have been hit with personal disaster. I know they’ve watched me too when the underpinnings of my life have been knocked out from under me. The temptation is so strong to give up, become bitter. We don’t want to hear any Pollyanna platitudes.
But those who have their faith in the Lord Jesus begin to come around. Our attitudes change as we join Job who cried out, “Yet will I hope in Him!” (Job 13:15) Because when nothing but disaster and calamity rained down on him, Job claimed the ultimate victory he would experience, his face-to-face meeting with his Lord and Savior when he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me” (Job 19:25-27).
That is what happens when we no longer have control. As a sainted Lutheran pastor, Arnold Kuntz, once said, “Life narrows down and crises come. And suddenly one thing matters. And there in the narrow place stands Jesus.”
I know when my leadership falls apart, when I don’t have the answers to the problems swirling around me and those I love, I am tempted to throw in the towel, call it quits, wallow in my bitterness and self pity.
But then I call out to my Spiritual EMT, my Lord Jesus. After all, “Because He himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). Not only is He able to help, He is more than willing too!
When the storms of life are raining down with hail and lightning, I look to My Lord Jesus who is pelting me with hope. He’s the one who helps me discover windows when doors slam shut. He keeps my eyes and ears open to the opportunities, the new plans He has in store for me.
Oh there are still days when I can feel that fear rising within me, and I turn to run from the headlight of the train I am sure is heading toward me down that dark tunnel. But then I remember my Savior and His promises. And I take the time to look back over my shoulder, releasing a huge sigh of relief, realizing it’s really the Light of the World, the Lord Jesus, who is reaching out… reaching out to me.
Leaving my guilt at the cross,
(First published at Lead Like Jesus August 2019)