I walked into Sue’s house, expecting that she, our friend Lynne and I would pray together for our kids as we do most every week. But the only prayer that happened was when I prayed for Lynne, who was obviously sick. Hives covered her arms and Sue gave her a Benadryl. Lynne started seeing spots and she felt heaviness on her chest. Just as Sue and I decided to take her to a hospital, Lynne said she was going to faint.
And then, as she sat in a chair, Lynne blanked out completely with her eyes wide open. I called 911 and Sue started trying to wake her up by calling her and gently slapping her cheeks. (Later we all joked that Lynne would never recover from the bruises.) For a good five minutes, Lynne was gone. Breathing, but unconscious with very little pulse.
The firemen and paramedics arrived and Lynne “woke up.” A cute fireman helped the process. :0)
At the hospital, the doctors declared Lynne had gone into anaphylactic shock due to a severe allergic reaction. To what, she is still not sure. It might have been the pizza she had earlier that day that could have had shrimp on it. Lynne is allergic to shellfish. It could have been something during the long walk she took on her way to Sue’s. We don’t know.
Yesterday, when I had tea with her, Lynne told me God used this brush with death to give her an assignment.
If not now, when?
Lynne has taken this message seriously and has called several non Christian friends to have coffee this week. During these chats, she doesn’t preach or bully or give a slide show of hell with X’s that say You could be HERE. She simply tells them that Jesus loves them and died for them and that she wants them to know. Now.
It was scary to watch her go through what she did last week; yesterday it was simply thrilling to feel her passion and hear about her purpose to do what God told her to do. Today.
Lynne happens to be my accountability partner in my journey to get off sugar and get healthy. When we switched topics to my world she said, “So I have one question for you, Robbie. If not now, when?”
I started crying. Denying myself the comfort of food is excruciatingly difficult. So I make good choices often, but I often justify and rationalize running to food I don’t need. This week is Thanksgiving. A week we set aside to speak our gratitude for all the great blessings we have.
But we do it with food. Lots of food. Nothing wrong with that, but when you are on a journey to put God first always and not food, this is well…a tough week.
Lynne, glowing as if she’d had a personal meeting with Jesus, told me, “Robbie, when you look at the Thanksgiving table this year, don’t just see dishes of food. Imagine it is a table of beautiful plates of what you want. What you REALLY want.”
So I am going to eat Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy my family and friends. But I’m also going to take a moment, imagine and scoot up to the banquet table that God has for me.
A bowl of dreams fulfilled.
A pan simmering with deep purpose and potential.
A platter full of every day joy, with no ounce of guilt on it.
A glass of good health.
A plate of unrestricted relationship with the Father, devoid of any addiction blocking my heart.
And of course, the dessert. Oh, the dessert! It’s a buffet filled with the simple things that have already come from this path and will come later. A sweater two sizes smaller than last year, blood tests with numbers in the normal range, the theatre seats with room on both sides of me, energy, energy and more energy, less pain in my knee, and of course, the sweet burst of confidence that flavors every day.
So why not, Robbie? Why not, each of you? What’s He asking you to do? And if not today, when?
THANK YOU for reading these devotions and for reading my blog. Your comments and your encouragement mean the world to me. Knowing that God uses my scribbling thrills me. So thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!