I have frequently been accused of having an overactive imagination. Not without reason I hasten to add.
From the time of my first memories, I have lived life in the real, and another secret one in my mind. Daydreams that continue for weeks, even months, evolving, receding, changing direction. Probably a result of being an only child living in remote spaces. Or possibly an early indication of the path of storytelling that I travel along.
Whatever, I have a fertile imagination which I embrace at times, and others eschew, and less frequently am downright astounded at what my mind can come up with. Like last week.
A few months back I developed a strange pimple-like erosion on the inside of my eye socket where my nose begins. I managed, with great self-control, not to fiddle with it. It grew slowly and my self-diagnosis went from pimple to spider bite. It was starting to bug me so I took the plunge and went to my GP who said, “Nope, not a spider bite. You need to see the eye man, too close for me to fiddle with.”
That was all it took. By the time I got to the ophthalmologist, the spider bite had grown into an abscess behind the eye at best, a tumour at worst. The Nelspruit Eye Institute is up-to-the-minute, organised and professional. After sitting for a short moment, I was taken through for the usual gamut of tests. The assistant was delightful, attentive, and reassuring through every step. While she was being thorough in recording all her findings, the tumour grew, it infiltrated by brain, in all probability it could well require the removal of my eyeball. I wondered if they would fit a false eye cosmetically on the way out, as with mastectomies?
After another short wait, I was ushed into “the room” where I was left with a screen showing each of my eyeballs in large spherical technicolour. The tumour was confirmed, I could see the shadow, its tentacles reaching into obscurity.
The Doctor arrived; I did not share my fears. He checked both eyes thoroughly, had a good look at “the thing” and told me quite calmly that it wasn’t anything much, and he would refer me to a dermatologist to cauterise it.
I drove home with a smile – objective achieved: a happy ending.
Except for the question of faith. That Voice I know so well was quiet but insistent. The Sunday prior to my eye appointment we had a prayer service at our church, during which a call was made for people with back ache to come forward for prayer. My back is a disaster, I have scoliosis and curvature, sort of sideways of the spine, so muscle spasms and back pain are part and parcel of my life. I felt a lift at the call – yay, that’s me. But the lift evaporated when a thought intruded – you are not going up there again. What if ‘it’ doesn’t work? You will be disappointed again. And so I argued back and forth in this febrile mind of mine the merits of healing, of stepping out, so what if it didn’t work. But it is a big what!
All the while I willingly prayed for others, believing for them that their legs would match in length, their lower backs would be released into free-swinging health. The Voice didn’t still. The questions He asked resonated, on through the night into the following days.
If I don’t have the faith to respond to a call that so obviously includes me, then who am I? How real is my faith, and thus my walk in Christ?
I gave my life to the Lord Jesus way back in 1979, have I really come all this way on my own steam, or have I been brought through the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune by a benevolent and loving Father, who I preach and teach has our best interest at heart? What do I believe? What do I believe about healing, and love, and who am I in Him?
Galatians 6: 4 But let each one examine his own work …
1 Tim 6: 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession the presence of many witnesses.
I had to go before my God, and allow Him to search my heart, to see where the doubt came from, what caused it, and how I was going to remedy it. Because, for me, a life not fully grounded in Christ, spending time with Him and walking companionably and reverently with Him is unthinkable.
This was on me, not Him. I had to dig deep to find the hurt, the lie of rejection, and then repent and ask Him to lift me up again, restore my faith, in Him and in me.
Praise God for our Saviour is faithful and loving and gracious. A couple of days after the prayer meeting I developed a good old fashioned strep throat, you know the one where you feel as if you’ve swallowed razor blades. As happens with me it wasn’t long before it made itself at home in my chest. I was driving home from spending a day in Kruger Park with a friend, and chewing in my mind how I needed my bed, a lemon and honey toddy, but no lemons, really did not want to go to a supermarket to buy any, maybe I could make do overnight.
And then I came around a corner and saw the familiar sight of a horsebox on the side of the road, displaying bags of lemons. I’d forgotten this farmer was there most days and for once I had cash and could buy a bag.
My smile returned, “Lemons on the side of the road, Father?”
I wanted my infection to go, miraculously disappear – pouffe!
God gave me lemons on the side of the road!