I have changed the title of my blog. Why? Not out of boredom or just liking change, much has happened since my last post. I’ll soon post about it, but for now we can say that the Lord has changed my view of what has happened to me… and His immediate purposes behind it.
My faith has seen me through this “Battle” with Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) thus far, but I had no idea where my faith journey was heading. Yes, I wondered why this had happened, what God wanted me to learn and how I should view it. We all know that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. We always want to know why and often the answer we get is that we may never know why in this lifetime so we just have to live with it. I’ve heard a lot over the years about people with terrible injuries and diseases “fighting” or “battling” those things which seek to either ruin or take their life. Friends and relatives have been touched by, and some lost to, injuries or disease. Now it is my turn.
What I came to realize is that I had stopped growing spiritually and I was barely being effective in God’s Kingdom. God wanted so much more from me but I had succumbed to “The Rat Race” and devoted myself to my work. Don’t get me wrong, work is important, but so much more had suffered. My relationship with my wife, my time and service to God and the joy was gone from my life. Through this time of a changed life, where the daily routine of getting up and going to work is a draining physical challenge for me, I’ve seen myself as battling CES as though my faith, grit and determination were being tested. While they were being tested, that wasn’t all. My focus had been on recovering far more than the doctors and physical therapists ever thought I could, further than the medical research said I could. I was going to win my “Battle”. I didn’t, and don’t, hold out the idea of a complete recovery but my goal has been to be able to walk without assistance again – a lofty goal for someone with CES.
It was my attitude that needed changing. I saw this as a challenge where my faith would see me through and coming out the other side of this I would give the credit to God. I would be a faithful soldier in His service. Nothing wrong with that, but… God wanted me. All of me. He has wanted all of me for a long time. I thought I had given myself to Him fully many years ago. He has used me in so many ways everywhere I’ve lived. But as I said, I had slowly slipped back in to taking His blessings and running with it for my own purposes without even considering His. My wife tried to help me see it, but I was too focused on my goal – which had been so out of reach and now, because of God’s blessing, was within my grasp. My attitude had slowly changed and was no longer good. God’s smackdown on me physically also affected me emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well. Eventually, everything was stripped away but the spiritual. I found that I had taken myself back from God and He was calling me to give myself completely to Him. Only this time, I understand there is much more depth in this commitment than I ever thought possible before.
In the Ohio derecho storms of June 29, 2012, we lost an old Ash tree that was 85 feet in length. Two men gave us a really good quote on cutting up the tree, removing the stump, and hauling it all away. They figured they could do it in 2 days, 6 hours a day . The stump was incredibly stubborn. Once they started on it, they found it had thick roots running out in all directions for many, many feet. It was too thick for their saws. They chopped at it with axes and worked 3 days from morning till dark. They even had another person come help. And still the stump remained. Finally they rented a stump grinder and did their best. That stump beat them badly for days. In the end, they accomplished what we needed leaving a small mound where the tree had been, however, there are still roots under that mound. And they had spent over 40 hours on the project. Their quote earned them less than $6 per hour.
That’s how it is when I first gave myself “fully” to God. I saw what looked like full commitment and made that commitment. Over time, there was more and more revealed but I had my goals and dreams too and there was no time, no room, for truly giving myself to God as fully as He wanted. In time, I took back what I had given Him. Suddenly, this year, God changed all of that. Stricken with an injury that would change the rest of my life, taking away many of the things I wanted to do and accomplish, I now had time for Him. I’ve learned that He wants all of me, and I’ve made that commitment to Him. Now, whatever recovery I have is fine with me. Of course being who I am, I will still be pushing for the best results possible. As with many whom God used in the past, He has place His mark of ownership on me – my CES. It is a reminder of whose I am, whose strength I depend on, and who has complete control of my life. We are not to give God a little, or even a large, part in our lives. He wants our whole life to be a part of His. He wants to live out His life through us. That’s what the Bible means when Paul wrote in the 8th Chapter of Romans that we who believe are being shaped and molded by God to be just like Jesus. Not just our character, but character drives motivation, and out of motivation comes actions. God uses the events in our lives to transform us (Romans 12), and He transforms us into people who think, act, speak, and love just like Jesus. Why? So He can reach people who don’t know, or those who don’t care about His love.
No wonder so many in America today don’t want anything to do with Christianity or church – look at how we Christians live! That isn’t God’s plan. Time for me to get with the plan. And I no longer fight CES, but it is a mark of ownership on me and of my commitment to God. So it is now “My LIFE with Cauda Equina Syndrome” and thus the new name for my blog.