My husband jerked the steering wheel but still grazed the parked motorcycle with our car. It was the second minor driving accident in two days. 


Being the calm, soothing wife that I am, I asked, “What’s WRONG with you? You are driving like a mad man. Can’t you SEE????


His negative answer surprised me. “Not really. I’m losing my peripheral vision.”


Several Taiwanese doctor visits later we received the diagnosis: Keratoconus: degeneration of the cornea.


We learned that although most keratoconus patients are able to have vision restored with rigid contacts, Mark’s eye couldn’t hold a contact. His right eye was shaped more like a football than an orb.  


His cornea tissue was so thin that the inside of his eye was bulging outward, skewing his vision. Every time the optometrist placed a contact lens on Mark’s eye, his eye would spit it across the room. It is difficult to balance a convex lens on a cone shaped cornea.  


“So what are our options?” we asked.


“Cornea transplant,” was the doctor’s shocking reply. 


Mark’s Taiwanese doctor continued, “You don’t want to have it done here, as organ donation is rare. Buddhists believe in reincarnation and don’t want to go into the next life missing a vital organ.”


“I do perform some transplants, but I will be frank. The corneas that we receive are mostly ‘seconds’ from the states. Their quality is poor.” 


Thus began a year and a half journey. We packed up our Taichung apartment, flew back to Texas and Mark was put on an organ waiting list. The sobering fact is that someone else must pass away before a transplant can be harvested.


Even after Mark’s surgery was complete, there were complications. The mother tissue didn’t bond with the foreign cornea. For 16 months, Mark endured misery as his eye attempted to reject the transplant. 


It was a long sixteen months. We spent most of it hovering around a 15 watt light bulb.


Yet, as we walked together through those valley of shadows, we discovered something that the Psalmist knew thousands of years prior:


It’s in the valley that our Shepherd is nearest. 


Go back with me to Psalm 23. When King David began his prose, he spoke of his Shepherd in third person.


“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”


But when David descended into the shadows, his perspective changed. He spoke with the Lord, not just about Him.


“You are with me.”


Mark and I found this to be true not only through the transplant journey, but in each juncture where our road has narrowed and the shadows have deepened. Our conclusion?


Stop talking about prayer and begin talking to Him.


How about you? How does your conversation need to shift?




July 4


Holy Father,


We praise You that Your reign has no geographic boundaries or cultural limits (Psalm 22:28). You sit upon Your throne ruling and directing all the nations, despite their exalted view of their own wisdom (Psalm 47:8). Thank You that indeed one day You will be exalted in all the earth and that Truth will one day be returned to preeminence (Psalm 46:10).


Lord, I waiver between worrying about our country and ignoring our problems altogether. On the issues that I think I can change, I spout my opinion and gripe loudly about the leaders that aren’t pleasing me. On other instances, I intentionally disregard them, feeling that there is nothing I can do about it anyway.


Forgive me for both attitudes, Father. I am so caught up in my own worldview that I seldom ask for a glimpse of Your own. Reveal to me what You have stored up  in the heavenlies for our nation. Show me what is already bound in the heavenlies that I should be binding on earth (Matthew 18:18).


I lay  my motives bare before You. You know my weaknesses. You know my hidden desires. You know my areas of willingness and as well as those of stubbornness. Although I claim to be praying the “if My people will pray” verse, I admit to You that I often don’t really want to turn my back on my own secret sins in order to fulfill my part of the promise (2 Chronicles 7:14).


Make me willing to be willing, Lord. Come fulfill Your purpose within me, so that I can pray with authority for our country (Matthew 6:10). Focus my mind of the things of the Spirit so that the Your Life within me can marginalize the darkness around me (Romans 8:6). Be my Light (John 1:4).


Think Your thoughts through me (John 14:26). Make me a Holy Satellite Hub that finds my desires met in You. In this way, I know that my every wish for our country would be granted (Psalm 37:4-5). Radiate Your brilliant glory from the depths of all we are (Zechariah 2:5). In Jesus’ Name, Amen.