Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Impressive People II

Here's another hymn that I sang this week which brought to mind another dear sister of mine. This hymn comes almost directly from Isaiah 41. You know it: "How Firm a Foundation"...why not sing it now?:

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

This hymn, as is the Scripture from which it comes, jam-packed with promises! And I do love those promises which God has given us. My sister Cindy, lives these promises, and her life shows that she believes God. Cindy suffers from Dercum's disease, which is a rare disease that afflicts nerve endings with lipoma-type tumors. These tumors can be removed, but they grow back, so surgery is not a permanent solution. There is no known cure. In the meantime, I'm sure anyone can imagine how painful such tumors are. No position is comfortable, not lying down, nor standing, nor sitting. Constant pain is a drain on energy, so she arranges her day according to how much evergy is available to her, which is severely limited because sleep is so hampered.

Cindy also suffers from cellulitis, which is a condition in which cells become inflamed and infected by staph (which is present in everyone's skin tissue, but her immune system is impaired so that she is unable to effectively ward it off.) Much of the time she is on antibiotics, and is constantly on the alert for flare-ups, which rob her of still more energy and make her feverish. Often she has had to be in the hospital as a result. One particularly nasty consequence of her cellulitis is that doctors have to have very serious reasons to do any kind of surgery on Cindy...which limits surgery on those lipomas I mentioned.

As if that were not enough, Cindy also recently discovered that she has a blockage in a major artery. Is it possible to limit her activity any more? Now she must take cholesterol drugs, and struggle with water-walking in order to lose some weight to take strain off her heart.

Yet, the Lord is so present, so near. Cindy has this amazing Spirit within her that enables her not only to not complain about all these limitations, but to give love and support to those around her. She is a constant encouragement to her immediate and extended family (which is large) and spends time making these amazing little clay figurines that just reek of her joy in the little delights of life like carousels and beloved pets and log cabins. She gives them away to avid collectors among her family and friends. Not only that, she's always praying for her friends and her family, several of whom have their own serious struggles. Certainly Cindy prays for healing, but her submission to God's good and sanctifying will is such a sweet aroma in the Kingdom that hardly anyone can keep from inhaling it, whether they are in the Kingdom or not. How evident it is that the King of Love has set His banner over Cindy, and will never, no never, no never forsake.

Don't think that Cindy is without any blessing in this world. Like Joseph, who was blessed even in prison, so is Cindy blessed in her prison. She has a passel of sisters who stick to her like glue, and nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews on top of an amazing husband and son, not one of whom doesn't love and serve Cindy whenever they get a chance. That's not even including her church! Heaven will look like this in some incomprehensible way, but, oh, what joy when the Spirit makes His people look like this here.

I guess the neatest thing about Cindy, to me, is that she knows she is going to be healed, and that God will make good on all His promises for her future. God says that He makes good on our cheerful suffering according to His will. There will be payback, except that it will be way beyond mere healing-- it will be nothing less than glory, and that glory will be His and ours together at last. I can hardly wait, can you?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eleanor, I'm weeping and weeping, humbled by your sweet, loving words. Thank you. I'm only conscious of all the ways I fall short and fail to live faithfully. It's so humbling to see that God is bigger than my frailty and faithlessness in His service.

And you're right, I'm blessed over and above anything I could ask for - don't forget my fantastic family in Christ.

Hugs and love, dear sister,


2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eleanor, that was a lovely tribute to my dear friend. It's all true and is why I love her so much. She never complains, and she must have many down moments. I saw her last month, and she's the same outgoing, enthusiastic, FUNNY person she's always been. She's one in a million. I wish I had your way with words because you surely captured the essense of Cindy.


6:47 PM  
Blogger The Clinging Vine said...

Wonderful, inspiring post about a wonderful, inspiring lady. ;^)

Won't it be marvelous when we're all at the resurrection feast and the pain and troubles of this life will be but a memory?

1:08 PM  
Blogger Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

Dang, Eleanor...you made the sick lady cry!

(And me, too.)

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

Love you, Cindy!

Love you, Eleanor!

12:41 PM  

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