Exciting News — the Resolution

Exciting News — the Resolution

Apr 10
Exciting News — the Resolution

Today I went and filled out some of the paperwork for my new job.  I start on the 16th, the day after I deposit my last check from my previous employer.  I will receive my first check from my new employer on the 30th.

In other words, I won’t have missed a single paycheck.  From an income perspective, it will be as if nothing happened.

I have had exactly the amount of time away from work that I have needed to recover from my knee surgery.  I didn’t have to save up sick days or vacation time — it was built in to the transition.

My new health benefits start on May 1st.  I will only have to carry COBRA for the one month I’ve already paid.

My new employer has a pretty standard work schedule, with very little expectation of overtime or after hours.  There will be next to no travel required by my new job.  I suspect that when the dust settles, my take home pay will be nearly exactly what I brought home before.

God has given me everything I asked.  The transition will be smooth.  The only “scare” in the whole process was that I didn’t know the details of what He was going to do.  I knew it was His story to write — it always is.  But I wanted to participate in His story and so I tried my best to be faithful to Him in the way I walked about my unemployment.  I don’t want to say that God rewarded my faithfulness.  I don’t want to say that somehow this was about me and how I responded.  It has always been about Him.  He had a magnificent, beautiful plan for me that I believe He would have given regardless of how I responded.  I don’t think for a minute that anything I have said or done has somehow “earned” what God has given.

It’s just that I have come to know Him and love Him as He is.  I knew what I had to look forward to because of my relationship with Him.  I knew I didn’t need to be afraid.  Think about it — when someone you love picks up a knife, you don’t suddenly become afraid of what they might do with it.  You are pretty sure you know what to expect because of the relationship you have with them.  If I didn’t know somebody, then I might be more afraid of them.

I know my God.  I knew that when I lost my job that He was going to do something amazing.  In many ways, I could have told you how this would finish before I even saw it.  I couldn’t have given you details such as where I’d be working or when I’d start, but I could have told you that God would have provided for everything.  That it would end up seeming completely customized to fit me and my circumstances, that it would be so much better even than if I had the opportunity to plan it for myself.

I never once feared my joblessness because I know my God.

However, there are other areas of life that I still don’t quite trust God with yet.  In those areas, I still have fear.  I don’t talk about God in them the way that I should.  I’m not faithful in the way I talk about Him in those situations.  Sometimes I don’t even talk about Him in them at all.

One of those areas is my health.  I have not yet surrendered my health to God the way that I have other areas of my life.   I don’t speak about Him as faithfully in my health as I do other things.  It’s a way I want to grow closer to Him.

Lately, He’s been giving me that opportunity.

My knee surgery went really well.  Everything was smooth and easy.  The first couple of days of my recovery couldn’t have gone easier.

But then the gout came like a thief in the night.  It stole my joy.  It ripped at my heart.  It devastated my view of what was going to happen.  It ruined my plans.

Simply put, gout can be thought of as very aggressive arthritis.  I have gout in both knees.  The surgeon discovered it and cleaned up what he could of it.  I had thought my biggest problem was tears to the cartilage in my knee — the surgeon fixed that, too, but he said my greatest issue is the gout.

During my recovery from surgery, I had a gout attack in the knee that had been operated on.  It was excruciating!  Even a light touch on it was painful — I couldn’t even sleep with a blanket over it.  That lasted about a day.  Then the other knee had a severe gout attack.  It left me unable to walk.  I could hobble with two canes, but it was a scary proposition.  I was always in pain.  The thought of moving at all was enough to make me want to vomit.

I was terrified.  My faith and my relationship with God did not extend to my health — at least not the way that it should.  I had no problem believing that God had a beautiful plan for my employment.  But I had trouble having that same faith with regard to my pain and being able to walk.

God started turning that around just a day or two before Sunday.  I was supposed to teach class for our Life Group leaders on Sunday morning.  The subject was on building a loving community and I really wanted to get to be there to talk about it and share.  However, I couldn’t stand in front of a class and teach.

On Saturday, my wife was leaving to run some errands and offered to look into renting a walker for me.  I was totally open to the idea — anything that could help me walk was welcome.  But when she called, the place had already closed for the day.  Then she suggested that we let God provide.  So we both posted to Facebook, asking if anyone had a walker we could buy or borrow.  Within 30 minutes a member of our Life Group posted that he had a walker we could have.  Before we could let everyone know that God had provided, at least 4 more walkers were mentioned or offered.

God met that need in a powerful way.  So we were a little more daring.  I sent a text to the minister and asked if the church had a wheelchair.  Naturally, it did.  That Sunday morning, I was met at the door by members of my Life Group who had a wheelchair ready for me.  All I had to do was flop out of our car and into the chair.  My knees hurt so much that I couldn’t bend them enough to get my feet into the proper places.  I had to hold me feet up out in front of me as they wheeled me into worship.

That morning before leaving home, I told my wife that I wish I had more t-shirt that talked about Jesus.  I have a lot of nerdy shirts, but only one “Jesus” shirt, and it’s more about softball than it is Jesus.  What I wanted to do was put a Jesus shirt on a pole or something so that it could be a banner on the back of the wheelchair.  I wanted people to see Him and His glory rather than me in a chair.  I wanted to proclaim His goodness and have people think of Him first before they asked why I was in a wheelchair.  But sadly, I had nothing I could use as a display or banner for my Lord.

Before worship, several people stopped by to ask why I was in a chair.  I explained several times.  I’m not sure that I talked about God much, though.  I don’t know if I gave Him praise or glory for what He was doing.  I remember making a deliberate effort at one point — one of the Elders walked by and asked about me and the chair.  I made a point of being excited for God and His work, to talk about my certainty that God was in control.  The Elder was encouraged and uplifted and he prayed over me right then, putting an arm around me and holding his head next to mine as he thanked God for my enthusiasm.

Then my wife came over and sat next to me.  She grinned and said, “God provided” as she held out the church t-shirt I had ordered several weeks before.  I never found a way to raise the shirt as a banner over my chair, but I would have in a heartbeat!  The only thing I could think of was putting the shirt on the end of my cane (which I left in the car) and attaching the cane to the back of the chair (which didn’t seem possible without modifying my borrowed chair).  Still, I was like nudge in the ribs from God.  He was reminding me that He is in everything and that I had been leaving Him out.

For the first time in my life, I praised my God from a wheelchair.

It was awesome, as is fitting of my God!

I was wheeled up to class and then back down again afterwards.  It was a beautiful day and I put my new t-shirt on when I got home.

I’m learning a lot through these trials.  I’m grateful for all of them, even the ones that keep me awake at night in pain.  Because I learn so much about my relationship with God through them.  Everything is so much better when I’m looking forward to God and His plans for me.  When I trust Him and depend on Him, when I am rooted in our relationship, then the pain and fear seems to evaporate in the brightness of His glory and His love for me.

So today as I was filling out paperwork for my new job and they asked me if I thought I’d be able to take the walking tour with all the other new hires, I said “I believe so.”  I have every confidence that God will have me walking perfectly again by then.  But even if He doesn’t, I know there will be a great purpose, a beautiful reason, and that I can expect something even better.

Maybe a private tour.

4 comments

  1. Kathy Fridge

    Hi Chris,
    Thank you for posting this! So encouraging to hear of your obstacles and the way God has just waved them away from you as the time has become appropriate. His timing, of course. So sorry for the pain, I know chronic pain starts to mess with your head after a while (long-lasting back problem several years ago), but it sounds like that is already diminishing as well. Congratulations on your new job and we’ll continue to pray for your health concerns. Looking forward to your next post.

    • Thank you so much, Kathy! I know that God has plans even for this and that when He reveals them I will be in awe. So I’m going to start practicing now!

  2. Treva

    Chris,
    Do you use Splenda as a sweetener?
    My brother, a medical doctor, suffers from gout–so he tries to figure out what causes his attacks–he determined that when he used Splenda he had gout attacks! I went through a time, while teaching, that my left knee would hurt so badly that I could hardly stand to walk. (?) It hurt to walk!
    My brother told me about his reaction to Splenda one Saturday morning over the phone. That morning was the last time I used Splenda–by the following Wednesday my knee was free of pain–none since then! So, with all that information, if you do use Splenda–stop!

    • Thanks for the tip, Treva. Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything I consume that contains Splenda. However, there might be a common ingredient, or perhaps something similar. I’ll be on the lookout for “triggers.” God bless!

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