“…but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in – a river that no one could cross” (Ezekiel 47:5, NIV 1984).
He was a new patient with a serious problem from which he would not likely survive. He had already been through a few months of his malady and real questions remained about his immediate future and direction. He loved the Lord and told me that God had prepared him for this journey. “You may not believe this, Doc, but a month or so before all of this started, God spoke to me just as clear as I can hear you in this room. He told me ‘I’m about to take you through some deep waters; do not be afraid.’ And then, when I started going through this, I read about the doctor who was going through cancer, who said he found Christ’s presence in those deep waters---that’s what I’m counting on.”
In the book When Your Doctor Has Bad News, the author retells the story of a Christian ophthalmologist named James Collier who struggled with lung cancer prior to his death. During that journey, Dr. Collier said, “I know that Jesus is all I have and all I need. I know where the road ends. I don’t know how much longer my journey will be, but I do know His majesty awaits me at the end of the road…. If I had the choice, I would not take away this cancer if it meant missing the journey into the deeper waters of God’s love. It has been wonderful.”
This is not a lesson we can learn from standing on the outside of things. Only when our lives crash headlong into the inevitability of our frailty and we realize our absolute dependence on the arms of God do we come to know the breadth and depth of God’s love. There are some truths of life; there is a magnitude of God’s presence that we can only find with near drowning; and, according to Dr. James Collier, “It is worth it all.”
When I need them, let me know the safety of your arms and the expanse of your love.