"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
There are some 'go-to' verses in scripture for every believer. Last week, I asked the small portion of our family gathered which of the 66 books (one from the Old Testament and one from the New) they'd have, if only two were possible. From the Old Testament, three of us chose the Psalms, one the Proverbs and one hovered over Isaiah without quite deciding to land. But five different books were chosen from the New Testament: Matthew, Romans, Hebrews, James and I cried speaking of John (I've been crazy emotional this summer!!). And as my relatives spoke, I smiled in agreement. In truth, of course, each has much to recommend it because it is God's beautiful holy Word. Recently I heard someone speak about the possibility of even the Word of God getting in the way of one's love for God Himself and I recognized the danger of such a thing in myself. I have such love for His word. But because I meet Him there. Because He speaks in the pages more clearly than in the confines of my own heart.
And there are 'go-to' verses in scripture. Certain occasions create needs which lead me to specific verses. Such verses speak for me or give me hope or tell me again of who God is or allow me the freedom to rail against life itself. Some give me a foothold of theology when I cannot answer deep and difficult questions and others draw me in to the mysteries that God intends life to be on this planet. In short, there is always something. Always a word, one way or another, for every situation.
And my 'go-to' verses for suffering come from 2 Corinthians. Indeed, my go-to book for living with hope in affliction is the entire book of 2 Corinthians. The timbre of joy, the promise of His strength and grace continues to sustain me.
The last couple of days I have needed such words. Not for myself but for the Beve. I rarely speak of this side of him because he NEVER speaks of it. But Beve has health problems. Arthritis in two crippling forms, one of which is so hard to say people are shocked when it ripples off my tongue (and I do love the sound of it, though I cannot spell it!), and--more pertinent today--Meniere's Disease. Meniere's. This is an inner ear problem which causes tinninitus (severe ringing), which sometimes blooms into severe vertigo. Beve's left ear has been ringing (non-stop) for over a decade, which has effectively made him deaf in that ear. Crowded rooms are hard for him; large, echoing, spaces even worse. He stopped coaching because of it, bends his tall head sideways when someone tries to speak on the wrong side, and does almost all the driving so that his good ear is pointed toward the passenger seat, allowing for conversation.
He's grown used to such accomodations. Has made it work. He has to, of course. Hearing is the key ingredient to his job. Like an airline pilot (or farmer) needs his eyes, so my Beve needs his ears. Without them...well, let's just say he can't quite imagine how to be a counselor without being able to listen. A year ago, for example, when his office was moved to a new location, he set up his desk in the corner nearest the door so that his good ear was open to the room. However, students began complaining to the secretary and other counselors that Mr. Wiley was ignoring them. The bad ear faced the doorway, so he couldn't hear them when they spoke to him!
Here's the very scary, very bad news: for the last week, he's had ringing in his right ear. His GOOD ear. Last night he said it sounds like a jet engine taking off. Yesterday, when I called him in Seattle, E answered his phone every time. He had no good ear for the phone. Even trying to hear in person was so wearing he was exhausted last night, more short than usual, fighting a headache. When I told him how sorry I was, he said, "Well, that's how it goes." A whole lot more resigned than I am. I'm nowhere near resigned to this.
Sometimes I think we pray for healing merely because we don't like pain, or don't want to be sick. But I think we have to ask God in which way He wants most to use us. In weakness or in strength? How will His Kingdom most be extended? Sometimes it's in our weakness, our being a beacon of God in that dark weakness that He uses. I have come to believe that my on-going weakness is His plan for me(which He graciously allowed me NOT to feel last week--though I am certain the pool was a practical aid as well). In Beve's case, I know he's used by God in myriad ways with people and those ways include being able to hear. (Just so you know, hearing aids aren't the same aids for Meneire's patients they are for other hearing-impaired people) God knows what Beve can handle, and He also knows that Beve has been and is His instrument for the Kingdom in that school and school district. So, until He tells me otherwise, I will pray that God takes away this new ringing. It is right and good to pray such things.
If you think of it (especially if you know him!), will you pray for the Beve? He might not ask it, but I'll be so bold.