Less than a month ago I was waiting for test results to shed some light on the pain & numbness I had been feeling. When Jeff asked if I wanted to go canoeing with him & three guys from church, I started to decline; I was beginning to withdraw from friends.
It was easier for me to stay home; canoeing & camping would make me dependent on them. But with their reassurances & encouragement from my wife, I decided to go along.
By evening of the third day, I start to “get it.” As we paddled in two days ago, I felt strangely at peace, no longer worried about my limitations. With each stroke I was soon quietly singing each line from the Doxology:
“Praise God from who all blessings flow (splash), Praise Him all creatures here below (splash) Praise Him above ye heavenly host, (splash) Praise Father, Son, & Holy Ghost (splash)”
Reflecting on the long list of blessings that God has given me I feel humbled, but also loved. I am as sure of His presence & goodness as the water laps on the rocks.
I’ve noticed joy starting to seep out in what I’m saying & doing. Each meal has become a celebration of God’s provision, & as Casey noted, it now isn’t complete until I have declared it “the best camp meal I’ve ever had.” Chores are opportunities to serve my brothers in Christ; in the cold morning when I’m moving slowly, to accept their service with joy & humility.
Conversation is a blessing & a comfort. None of this would have happened had my friends accepted my initial refusal to come along.
I have finally been able to express this lesson to my friends: God indeed loves me. I know He is good, He is powerful, & He could heal me. Echoing Shadrach’s words before being thrown into Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace,
“…& if not…” (see Daniel 3:16-18). If it doesn’t happen, I will still praise Him. For I see the extent to which He has already healed me: through His Son, He has healed my heart, my mind, & my soul. Even on a simple camping trip, He is still healing me. I praise Him for what He has done already, & as I’ve learned these last few days, I will gratefully accept each day as a gift from His loving h&s. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”
Matthew Atkinson lives in Cottage Grove, MN with his wife Elspeth & two girls. He works, volunteers with his church’s children’s ministry, & is a Lay Counselor in his Congregational Care Ministry.
Reprinted from HopeKeepers Magazine, published by Rest Ministries.