I Need You, oh, I Need You
Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord. The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands. For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins. Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies. Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins. Psalm 25: 5-18
I have this passage underlined in my Bible with a date and a little handwritten note in the margin, “Please heal me, Lord.” I was in a bad way. At the age of 30, I had become trapped in a body that would no longer do what I told it to do. My brain fired commands to reach up and wash my hair-and my arms wouldn’t lift higher than my shoulders. It would tell my arms and legs to reach down and get myself dressed, and I couldn’t reach past my knees. I now know what it feels like to be a very old senior citizen; to have a fully capable mind but to not be able to do for myself anymore. I needed my kids to reach things for me or pick up what I dropped. My husband bathed and dressed me. My respite worker shaved my legs and took me grocery shopping. We would make it fun and I ran into many a display riding in the electric scooter. We laughed and laughed, but it was still humiliating. Every time my husband took me out and pushed me in my wheelchair, I could feel the stares. My cheeks were huge from steroids, my hair ratty from chemotherapy, and my face full of acne. They looked at my husband with pity in their eyes.
I was miserable in a way I can’t explain-it may be that only those who have been very ill can relate to this feeling I had- and yet, I was also the most alive I had ever been. My mind became my most capable body part. Even with the pain meds and steroids making me slightly psychotic, I felt alert and sharp. I read the entire Bible in three months, then immediately again in another six. I had an insatiable hunger for the Word of God because I knew He was pursuing me relentlessly. For the first time ever, I could point to an event in my life and know that it was sent from the hand of the Almighty. God was tired of my wishy-washy Christianity, my lip service to Him at mealtimes and bedtimes with my kids and my Sunday church attendance that was doing nothing but checking a “to-do”for the week. He wanted my whole heart, mind and soul, and He was letting me know that this was my chance. Praise the Lord! I recognized it almost immediately into my diagnosis and treatment and I repented of my lukewarm relationship with Him and clung to Him as if being thrown a life-preserver from the side of a boat.
Do I believe God causes illness and calamity in people’s lives? No, I really don’t. I believe this about God: He knows each of us to the most detailed degree we could even imagine-and more. He loves us and desires a relationship with us. If we are His children and wander away, He will leave the other ninety-nine sheep and hunt for us, just the one. Sometimes, for a hard and stubborn heart, that searching may involve bringing us to the end of our pride and self-reliance.
You see, when I got sick, I was full of pride. My husband was deployed to Iraq for a year and I had three children and two dogs to care for. I worked out and was proud of my body. I was on the board for PWOC, a women’s military Bible study ministry. I posted funny things on Facebook and lived for feedback to make myself feel good. I also drank heavily most nights of the week. I was one way with my church friends and a completely different way with my military wife friends. I needed a wake-up call. I needed an intervention. I needed Jesus.
My friends, when the hopelessness and despair of a life-threatening or debilitating illness brings us to our knees, there is but one thing we need to do. Submit. Surrender. Be still and know that He is God. My polymyositis could have taken my life. It certainly has left me a different version of who I was, so in a way, it did take it. It took the self-centered, immature woman I was and gave me the desire to become a better version of myself. We aren’t promised tomorrow and I am keenly aware of that now. I could have a relapse, or I could be in a car accident tomorrow. None of us ever know.
The main thing I hope you take away from this today is that Jesus loves you and wants all of you. Did He cause your pain and suffering or is He allowing it for this season to teach you, grow you, pursue you until you let go of your self-sufficiency and make-believe perfection and surrender all of your strivings and simply let Him have your whole life-mind, soul and strength?
One of my favorite Christian songs says, “Lord, I need you, oh, I need you. Every hour I need you, my one defense, my righteousness, Oh God, how I need you.” I pray today that you will quiet your racing thoughts and listen for the still, small voice of the loving Creator who desires an eternal relationship with you. He’s waiting and ready.
Kathy Morris is a former registered nurse and active duty military spouse. She and her husband, Earl, have five children ranging in age from 20 down to 3, and Kathy homeschools those who are school-age. Her many passions include foster care and adoption, showing women that living life different from the world is a beautiful and freeing thing, and plant-based living mentorship to help contribute to health and good stewardship of the planet. They now reside in North Carolina after living in seven states in ten years. To connect with Kathy, you can visit her Instagram-@fosteringourfuture or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her blog is fostering-our-future.com, and although it has just recently been revived, follow her for more posts. She is also on Facebook as Kathy James Morris.