Meditating on Psalm 134.
Behold, bless the Lord,
All you servants of the Lord,
Who by night stand in the house of the Lord!
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord.
3 The Lord who made heaven and earth
Bless you from Zion!
The effective antidote for disappointment, discouragement, and even discontent is to remember the goodness of the Lord; to count His blessings and name them one by one. Sometimes this is hard to do, especially to those who do not want to humble down and leave that place of brooding. We can choose to either grouse or give thanks. The former brings a fleeting and false relief, but after it has vented out, we realize it doesn’t really improve our situation. The latter honors God and ushers in a blessing. Although we may not see it yet, but we can feel the prompt effect by our having a peaceful heart and mind.
The best way to conquer the negative feelings that try to trample us is to choose to bless the Lord. Bless Him in the battle as well as in the victory.
How many of you, if there is any at all, thank the Lord everyday for being able to shower, bathe, or shampoo? These tasks are so mundane most people will not give them a second thought. But for me, they are not ordinary, easy tasks, and being able to do them means a lot.
In 2010, another bout of my illness attacked me. It was more severe to the point of death. For months my oesophagus couldn’t receive food and my stomach was too weak it almost didn’t function. I only ate soft rice with beef broth. I became skin-and-bones. I was very weak I couldn’t bathe even with assistance. When my skin became itchy, I sponge-bathed it with hot water and alcohol. Washing my hair was out of the question. I couldn’t sit long, and when I lay down with my head protruding at the edge of the bed so someone could wash my long hair, I couldn’t breathe well. Scrubbing my scalp, even done by someone, would exhaust me and make me feel dizzy. So, for half a year, my hair was not washed. It became so tangled from the dust and sweat that it clumped up at the back of my head like a huge basket. My husband and the kids joked that I should not be seen by the birds, otherwise, they might make their nest on my head.
Those were the times that lightness and laughter attempted to assuage all our sadness and fears. My husband offered 2-meal fasting for over 80 days while continuing to work in the office. He, too, became emaciated. Preachers and prayer warriors from our Church came to pray over me and lay their hands on me. Gradually towards the end of the year, I recovered and regained some strength.
For the fist time in six months, my hair was washed. But it would take many washes before the basket-like clump was totally untangled. Last year, we remodelled our master’s bathroom. We made it easily accessible for my wheelchair and walker. When the renovations were completed, I began to use it to bathe and wash my hair with the assistance of my husband. That is a tremendous blessing to me! I thank Him everyday for it.
One can either question God for the suffering in the first place or bless Him for His enduring mercy and unfailing love. I will always choose the latter.
(Beautiful photo courtesy of my sister in Christ Evamarie Fetter).
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