But God’s kingdom is glorious
Psalm 145:10-13 All of your works will thank you, Lord, and your faithful followers will praise you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power. They will tell about the majesty and glory of your reign.
Luke 12:30-32 Your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
1 Thessalonians 2:12 God called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.
In August of 2004 I had already lived quite a long time. For fifty years I had seen God provide for me. I had seen God touch my daughter Karis and restore her many times when doctors told us there was no hope for survival from the current crisis.
Yet the evening of August 23, after watching a video of a person who died on the operating table, I was terrified. For most of the night I could not sleep, agonizing over what Karis had agreed to do: undergo a highly risky transplant. The “good, bad, and ugly” of intestinal transplant had been drilled into us, complete with examples of patients who had died. The chances of her surviving were small. Why then had we signed up for this? Should I try to persuade Karis to change her mind?
Toward morning, I fell asleep, briefly. But shortly before 7:00 a.m. I woke up, startled, as if someone had shaken me awake. I heard a voice say, “Get up, get dressed, and go to church.” I tried to ignore it, snuggling back into my pillow, but the voice spoke again: “Get up, get dressed, and go to church.” What … ??!!
Karis was still sound asleep. I got up, got dressed, and went to church. I walked into the early morning service to hear the pastor concluding the sermon by saying the words from Luke’s Gospel quoted above. Don’t be afraid.
God had told me to get out of bed and go to church just to hear those words?
Later that morning, while visiting a friend, an immigrant from the Arab world, Karis received a transplant call and said yes.
Don’t be afraid.
Hour by hour through the fourteen-hour surgery, Don’t be afraid.
Seeing her in the transplant ICU afterward, tubes and wires sprouting from her body like the quills of a porcupine, multiple machines humming, Don’t be afraid.
Skipping ahead days, weeks, months, to Karis finally emerging from coma, irreversible rejection, one lethal infection after another, total debilitation … “Mama, why were you afraid? It’s not time for me to die yet. God still has plans for me here.”
January 2005: off the vent!!!
Why was I afraid? Because I’m human and I loved my daughter. Because I’m weak, not strong. Because being back in the ICU for 75 days straight wa an eternity.
Your Father already knows your needs …
Reliving those days, weeks, and months to write the Karis book, God showed me where he had been through that eternity of time: with me in the ICU. Calling people to give me support and care. Providing basics: Food. Occasional nights or days of sleep. His word, Psalm 118:5, with the mystery of feeling the walls of the ICU recede—larger inside than outside—when I became claustrophobic. The mystery and wonder of Karis still living, one more hour, one more day.
Your Father already knows your needs. Don’t be afraid. It gives him great joy to give you the Kingdom.
The mystery of the Kingdom: The King is your Father, who loves you …
Can you receive these words today?
Close your eyes and listen.
2 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid”
Oh, Deb, this is, of course, one of the most moving pieces and has come to me at a time when I need a heavy heaping dose of Hope and Love my own self. I thank you once again as I so often do. You are one of the best message carriers I know. In the name of Jesus, blessings to you
Always so encouraging to hear how God speaks to us in our moments of need, and so important to hold on to the message “Don’t be afraid!”
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