Seriously, life is hard. Sometimes I lose perspective. Sometimes, despite the progress that Ethan is making and the provision that God is supplying, I am overwhelmed. It's not easy watching your child struggle, but sometimes it's not that he can't get through the physical therapy or the day to day adapting to life in a fixator --it's that I don't want him to HAVE to get through something or HAVE to learn to adapt. I hurt for him --and I want to go home to some sense of normalcy. Sometimes. And that's honest.
What's honest, too, though is that I don't stay in Sometimes for very long. I'd probably have a lot more parties, but my Father, He won't allow it. In fact, He shows up, and I just can't stand to disappoint Him. He brings something with Him, too --a new perspective.
Now, of all ways for God to speak to me --this week it was through the "Star-Spangled Banner." I know it's strange, but bear with me --and get out your tissues. We visited Ft. McHenry. Now I'm a history buff, but I had forgotten the details of the story. Picture this: a young lawyer, Francis Scott Key, boards the HMS Tonnant with Colonel John Skinner in order to negotiate the release of an American prisoner, Dr. William Beanes. Once on board, Key and Skinner learn too much about the British position and their intent to attack Baltimore --and they are not allowed to leave. In fact, Key is forced to watch the British bombardment of Ft. McHenry.
Francis Scott Key was encamped about with enemy soldiers watching what he thought would be a defeat for the Americans --given the strength of the British Navy. On the morning of Sept. 14, 1814 --by the dawn's early light --however, what Key saw would inspire our nation even today. The battered American flag flew proudly over Ft. McHenry signifying an American victory --and Key jotted down the poem we all know that begins, "Oh say can you see ..."on the back of a letter he carried in his pocket.
Okay, what do Francis Scott Key and I have in common? Well for one, we have both been encamped about by our enemies. Remember the party --my guests? Someone invited them alright --
Ephesians 6:12 --For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Someone has a plan for me --and this plan includes depression, a loss of testimony, and ultimate defeat here on earth. Satan's plan is subtle --and sometimes looks inviting. Parties like mine are quite popular ---just look around. Actually just look inward, stay focused on yourself and your present circumstances --and Satan is gaining ground.
How do we achieve victory instead of defeat? We do what Francis Scott Key did in those early hours of Sept. 14, 1814 --we look up. We get up each morning and we look to our victor --to the one who died to set us free.
It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Self-pity, fear, doubt --all forms of bondage? How do I know? Oh, I was a slave --didn't I tell you? I was a slave to sin, but I'm a slave no longer --oh no, He hath made me free! (John 8:36) My Victor tells me, too, not to return to slavery -
Galatians 5:1 -Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Stand fast --did you catch that? Oh, that's what I'm going to do --with His help. I'm going to stand firm, hold my ground, be that tree again --the one that's firmly planted. I'm going to get up each morning and look for Him --the one who secured my freedom.
The battered flag that Francis Scott Key saw flying above Ft. McHenry is housed in the American History Museum --and for only a few minutes each day, patrons can look at its faded stars and stripes. What makes Key's story resonate with me -- what does that battered flag symbolize for me? Hope. One simple word. Hope. Why do I have hope, despite my circumstance, despite my weaknesses? Because my hope isn't in myself --it's in my God --and He doesn't disappoint. I'm in a different state, in a different home, in a difficult situation, but my God, He's the same. He was God the day before Ethan's surgery and He's still God today. He still promises this is for my good. He still promises to be near. He still promises to finish this work He started in me.
One last note: When my friend Kelly visited, Ethan asked, "Kelly, have you ever had a pity party?" She admitted that she had ... that we all have. Ethan responded, "When I found out I had to get this thing on my leg, I felt bad for myself. But then I saw all the other kids with their fixators ... and I was okay." Sometimes, we just need to look around ... change our perspective ... and we'll realize that we're not alone ... that we all have "fixators" -- that there's nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). What we, as Christians, must learn to do --is to "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Tim 2:3).