Scare & Selah

On September 14, 2010, in Life, Personal, by Chris

Okay – Important Safety Tip: Make sure you are buckled in when you tell God, “Bring it”. It’s more than likely you are going on a heck of a ride.

Let me tell you about the last 36 hours. Monday AM was looking good as the members of the Prayer Task Force for the EACH Initiative came together at Landmark Church in Hazel Park. We got a lot done and I jetted off in full blown “production mode” to the next meeting, cell phone smoking along as I drove (ed. note: always use hands-free mode and don’t dial out when you’re driving kiddies!). The beginning of the ministry season is most often like this, with lots of communication to make sure programs and initiatives are launched for maximum impact.

So I was burning along from meeting to meeting, building momentum from one to another; and only dimly recognizing that the day had me in its grip. I was about to meet with a couple going through a difficult situation and my phone rang.

It was Jocelyn.

She had gone to the OB for a routine exam and they were concerned about her blood pressure – 150/100…

…and the baby didn’t seem to be moving very well.

They told her to go immediately to the hospital for extended monitoring.

Ten minutes later I’m in the car wondering what we were in for when she got there; and in my moments of panic, whether my kid was going to survive the night.

The triage team assessed the situation, gave Julia a clean diagnosis (my kid is scaring me to death and she’s not even a teenager yet!), but admitted Jocelyn to the ante-partum ward for monitoring over 24 hours. “Rest here, and let’s see if that blood pressure will come down,” they said.

I got Jocelyn settled in and put the list together of what she will need for the overnight stay. I got to the house (totally breaking the no cell phone rule) and find three shingles from my roof sitting in the driveway. I went down to the basement to switch the laundry and the dryer is malfunctioning and making funny blue sparks. Great.

And in the end, the most confounding thing was that there was no one I could reasonably get mad at. I hate that.

But now, 24 hours later, my girl is home – relegated to a modified bed-rest regimen for the rest of the pregnancy. Her blood pressure slowly crept into a more healthy range through the hours of uncertainty; and the baby still in her womb, according to the docs, “is doing beautifully.” There were even moments of lightness and fun as we spent the time together between visits from the medical assistant to get another reading. And tonight, as she sleeps next to me again, I have time for a little reflection.

There’s an old piece of Hebrew poetry that calls out across some three thousand years right into my crazy 36 hours. They were the words that Jocelyn rested upon yesterday as she stepped into the doctor’s office:

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.


And there it is – Selah. It’s exact meaning is lost in antiquity, but as near as the scholars can figure, it was a word that meant “pause here”. My theory is that the words were so heavy and meaning-full that took the human brain time to apprehend their weight; so the psalmist gave folks a little interlude to think them through.

As the computer keys give way to the weight of my fingers, right this moment, I have an opportunity to once more wrestle with those words. To read them again and then just sit with the scandalous promise of a God who never changes – even when everything else seems to.

Find rest – not in a favorable blood pressure reading, but – in God alone.

I will not be shaken – even though my stuff and the house that contains it might be once in a while.

Pour out your hearts to him – if you dare – for God is our refuge.

God didn’t change – I did. In the face of circumstance and misfortune, I let myself get a little faked out. Coming back to him and sitting in those promises is a chance re-attach (or perhaps more fully attach) to the larger reality at work redeeming, reshaping, re-forming and reconciling this seriously warped situation and billions of others far weightier than mine.

Selah – yeah. Feels good.

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4 Responses to Scare & Selah

  1. Jo Fick says:

    Wow, Chris, I had no idea of what you have been going through. My prayers will stay with you and your family. A lot of us “Christians” profess to have great faith in God, until the ride gets really bumpy. Having children is not for sissies. It’s probably the hardest thing you will ever do. They will own a huge chunk of your emotional real estate until you take your last breath. Every part of your daughter and her life with amaze and enrapture you, as it has already. They tug at your heartstrings from the womb. It’s hard to imagine a God whose love for us so far exceeds what we are capable of for our own children. And yet…He does.

  2. Alex Calder says:

    I love this. Chris, this is amazing and I am hooked. Your words, through Christ’s prompting, are impacting my heart. I look forward to your updates. Thanks for sharing openly, vulnerably, and from your heart. Jesus is doing a work through you and Joce, through Julia and now even through your writing.

  3. Heath Davis Havlick says:

    Jocelyn sent me here, and I’m glad she did. I’m trying to figure out how to love a friend with Stage 4 bone cancer, and that Psalm made me cry. I’m glad to get a bit more insight into your adventure as well, so thanks for writing this blog.

  4. Robin Fisher says:

    I absolutely love this Psalm. It was just what I needed today. I have been reading your writings often which are so heartfelt and look forward to each and every one. You are so gifted at writing. Life is so full of surprises, too many changes for me right now, but there is a reason for everything and I claim the Psalm He alone is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken when it says Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
    my hope comes from him I just keep on keeping on….with life….with joy in serving my King. 🙂

    Love and prayers for you and your girls…..


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