We didn’t go to Beirut last Friday. The airport closure made that impossible as you see in the previous post. So we were checking on a revised date, leaving this Sunday, perhaps. But I managed to contract some creepy awful. I spiked a 102.5 fever Sunday night, shivering harder than I’ve even shivered. That includes the time that I got hypothermia during an hour long motorcycle ride from Biola to Pasadena in 35 degree rain. The fever was over 100 Monday, closer to normal Monday evening, but I had no energy and my head was spinning all the time. Tuesday morning I discovered some swelling and a major rash on my lower right leg. My leg was way painful, and walking was nearly impossible. So Sherry, with quite a bit of concern, took me to Kaiser to see what was happening. The doctor was impressed and the nurse more so. He said it’s a major skin infection, cellulitis. He put me on dicloxacillin, an oral antibiotic. If it doesn’t improve, he said it could be hospitalization and IV antibiotics.
So the Beirut trip had to be canceled. That’s really sad but that’s wisdom. Being there unable to do any teaching and no clarity on medical insurance coverage, would not be good. As of right now, there is no change in the infection. My temperature has been normal since yesterday evening, which is good. So it’s back to the doctor today at noon to find out about my immediate future. Who knows when I will be home!
One question is what is God’s role in this. Perhaps He protected me from being this ill in Beirut. Being sick at home is always a better way. I have to admit that it’s impossible for me to believe He would initiate the whole Hezbollah uprising for my sake. That He would work good in the middle of an evil situation makes sense biblically. He can and does work in very complex situations.
Or maybe the cellulitis is punishment for my lack of faith to go where He’d called me to go. He worked so that the airport was open before my scheduled arrival. But I didn’t trust Him, so He sent a punishing infection so I’d learn to trust.
The first explanation is the protective Father scenario; the second the punishing Dad scenario. The facts are the same, but the explanations totally different. Which is correct? It will be your basic picture of God. Do you approach Him in a climate of trust or not?
I’m working with some situations where trust is the real issue. Where there is a lack of trust, every statement is exegeted for betrayal, with every ambiguity taken negatively. In a trust climate even a discrepant statement is taken to be a mistake or misunderstanding. Explanations are requested, given, and received. In a non trust climate, mistakes are taken as intentional. Apologies are taken as manipulative or cover ups.
When trust breaks down, be it with God or human, it’s impossible to deal with issues. It’s the trust that must be handled. How to restore that? I honestly don’t know. I’ve seen it happen, but only when the trust issue is addressed openly, sin on the part of all humans is confessed, the pain around it talked and prayed about, and God’s Spirit empowered reconciliation is pursued on both sides. It’s where Isaiah 40:31 comes in: Wait actively for the LORD’s moment.
I am in many trusting relationships, some very deep. Sherry and I have it. It’s a huge gift, one to be protected with truth, even when the truth may be initially quite painful. Not doing truth only betrays and kills trust. It’s a gift to invest in.