“MARK! WATCH OUT!”
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?
Thank You for Your promises. I especially appreciate knowing that have You promised not to abandon Your people (Psalm 94:14). I claim this promise on behalf of _____ and ______ today.
I know that things are messy in their lives right now. They feel that the love within them is cold and dead. Yet, You are both the Life and the Love (John 14:6; 1 John 4:8). You are the One Who gives Life to the dead and calls into being that which doesn’t exist at all (Romans 4:17). You are the resurrection (John 11:25). So Father, out of the deadness of their life, I ask that You make up for the years that feel eaten away (Joel 2:25).
Father, their strength has been weakened along the way (Psalm 102:23). Their heart and their flesh has failed (Psalm 73:26). They have cried out to You with loud tears, mad tears, hurt tears – show them the bottle into which You have saved every drop (Psalm 56:8).
I ask that You work within them a letting go — a relaxing — a being still that they may know that You are the One in charge. You are God (Psalm 46:10). You are the One who made them — and in the same way, You are the One that is in charge of their spiritual journey (Psalm 100:3). Lead them onto paths of righteousness for the sake of Your Name (Psalm 23:3). And don’t forget the green pastures — they really need to lie down and rest there (Psalm 23:2).
You have promised that when we see You, then we will become like You, full of grace and truth (1 John 3:2). _____ and _______ need to see You clearly. Transform them from the inside out. May Your Word become life to them, not just something that they read on a page (John 1:17,18). After all, it is Your Spirit who gives life, not words (John 6:63).
Swell up rivers of living water from within their innermost being (John 7:38) because if You don’t lead them up from this place, then they can’t move at all (Exodus 33:14). Redeem their soul in peace from the battle that is against them (Psalm 55:18).
Show us all the hidden value of Who You are. Yes, Lord, show us Your glory (Exodus 33:18). In Jesus’ Name I pray for this marriage, Amen.