I apologize for the lapse here on the blog. The last few days have seen my descent into a new and difficult health trial and I've been simply treading water in bed. I had a blast helping out with games at the kids' vacation Bible school this Sunday and Monday, but with a bad cold already on board, and just off the heels of a double pneumonia late in June/early July, I knew I would pay for the extra energy expenditure! What I didn't know was exactly how much! While, last night finally saw me back in the ER looking for help breathing, as I had been coughing and gasping almost non-stop for 24 hours and the oral meds given me by my doctor to treat an amazingly horrific case of bronchitis were not helping. After some new-to-me nebulizer breathing treatments and a shot of IV steroids, I was feeling well enough to head home. This morning I am facing a whole host of new medications to juggle to keep my breathing normal, all on my daughter's 9th birthday. Add to this the fact that both my grandmother and mother struggled with debilitating and life-changing asthma for much (or all) of their adult lives - I am a weepy, exhausted mess! I am repeating one of my favorite verses in times like these - "what time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee" (Psalm 56:3) - each and every time the emotion drowns me on the spot. I can do little about the tsunami of emotions - especially on the heavy-duty emotional rollercoaster cocktail of steroids and nebulizer treatments! - but I can change my attitude and take on a posture of dependence on God, who knows all my tomorrows and has laid out the perfect plan if only I have the courage to step into it.

What the landscape looks like in black night - even lit by the presence of Christ as we navigate the fog - may change drastically when the morning comes again. I took these nearly identical photos one foggy 24 hours last week - one during the darkness of night under a full moon, and one around 5 a.m. as the dawn was just wrapping it's violet fingers around our side of the world. How much less sinister the world looks when we have walked through the dark tunnel to the other side!

I was also brought encouragement from a short devotional circulated the first day of VBS - more reassurance that this new church has a different and healthy grasp on the role of suffering in the life of the Christian. I share it here as I have spent the little energy I had for typing. If you get the chance, please once again lift my health up for prayer. It will be a difficult few weeks clawing out of the poor state my lung health has declined to, and probably a few months of vigorous rehab and treatment to get me back to baseline.

Session 1: I Am with You
God is with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Daniel 3:1, 4-28

What do you believe about God when everything’s going your way? How about when you’re in the midst of life’s worst-case scenarios? When a job is lost, dreams are shattered, or severe illness strikes, maybe you believe God is right there with you. Or maybe you think God has deserted you.

Look again at how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego responded to a potentially life-ending worst-case scenario and you’ll discover what they believed about God. These three young men took a stand for God that would potentially end their lives. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God was able to save them, but they also realized that He might not choose to. Whatever the outcome, they knew God was with them.

Although we know God can do anything, the Bible never promises us an escape hatch from trouble. While you may feel abandoned by God while going through the depths of suffering and loss, the truth is, you can have confidence in God’s promise—He is with you before, during, and after any trouble that comes your way.