“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” ― Bilbo Baggins
I wrote “When I am Weak” back in March. I was weak then. I am even weaker now. On Sunday, I began to experience nausea after church. I went to a friend’s house but could barely eat. By the time I got home around 4 pm, I barely made it in the house before I started throwing up. Sorry to use the T-word, as we called it in elementary school, but for the point of this post, it’s necessary to say. I threw up every 30 minutes for the next 9 hours, finally calling 911 at 1 am. Turns out my insulin pump wasn’t delivering insulin, and I was experiencing my first serious bout of diabetic ketoacidosis (in 26 years as a type 1 diabetic).
After calling 911, six very tall, very handsome fire fighters walked into my bedroom. I, of course, was not at my best after 9 hours of the T-word. Despite feeling 100% the worst I’ve ever felt in my life, I did have a little bit of humor left in me that appreciated the juxtaposition of that moment – the rescue of many a woman’s dreams and my complete inability to appreciate it. I was only moderately incoherent (I could answer their questions by the 2nd or 3rd try), and I could sort of walk. My bedroom is on the top floor, and I was determined to make it down without having to be put in a stretcher. So down we went to the ambulance, with one tall, handsome firefighter gently helping me on one side and another walking down in front of me in case I started to fall down the stairs.
Fast forward a few days. I’m out of the hospital, and, in theory, better. But I’m still wobbly. The show must go on, though. Kids need to go to school. Welders need to learn math. Dogs have to be let in and let out. Laundry has to be done. I have a lot of support here, for which I praise God. But I have to keep going at some level. Today as I finished up my class at the community college and started the long trek back to my car, I noticed myself leaning left. Or was it right? Regardless, it wasn’t exactly a straight line. I’ve said often the last few days, “You’re going to help me, right, Lord?” And He does. As I walked to my car today, I prayed that. I had the clear sensation of the firefighter coming alongside of me taking me by my right elbow and walking with me to my car. Except it wasn’t a firefighter, but the One who fights for me. My Father. My Savior. My Bridegroom. I could almost physically feel His support. When I am weak, then He is strong. I get it.
The funny thing about the firefighters is that they represent a stereotypical female fantasy – rescue by the tall, strong, and handsome hero. But that stereotypical fantasy reflects a deeper longing for which we were created – an eternal longing for rescue by our strong Savior. This latest episode of weakness has heightened my longing to see Him face to face and rest in His arms. But it’s also raised my awareness that He is not far off now, and He is walking this walk of weakness beside me, upholding me. His strong hand is under my elbow, and when I stumble, He catches me. Not theoretically, but truly. He is there. He is real. And that makes all the difference.
Psalm 63:8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.