Tension builds and wanes daily as I chase down shots – COVID Vaccine shots, specifically.
The luck of the draw is not with me: No appointments available in my area . . . for days.
Trusting, I am then that God’s providence is with me.
It’s tempting to freak;, imagining the worst if I can’t get a shot. New variants of the virus are wandering about, and in Nice France officials have ordered another lock-down as cases of COVID surge, and the hospitals are overwhelmed.
But freaking is not a good use of my time, or energy. The tension I feel is seriously annoying. Not as annoying as getting infected would be though.
So I press on painting and reading.
It might not have been the best book to read, but I started Philip Yancey’s paraphrase of John Donne’s Devotions.
Yancey described this classic, as
personal, heated, moody, bordering on unstable, and reflects the feverish state of a self-absorbed writer pushed to the limit.
I thought I could relate.
Although when I read the survey of John Donne’s suffering, I could not relate. Nevertheless, I hope I might learn, and relax reflecting on how a soul who is dependant on God wrestles with troubles.
John Donne lived through the Great Plague that swept through London in the 17th century. And that wasn’t his biggest wrestling match! What he endured in the nearly 60 years he lived . . . was shocking.
Donne described what he was thinking during that century’s pandemic, when he fell dreadfully ill, but not with the plague – a severe mercy. What he wrote wasn’t self-pity, but it was personal – so personal I feel like I am reading my worst fears about illness and death.
Perhaps this is why Donne’s collection of meditations and prayers has never gone out of print in the four centuries since his death. (Devotions by John Donne, page 10)
We want to know how to carry on when God throws a plot twist into current scenes of our lives.
I want to believe, know, and trust God, even when I’ve blown my lines or don’t know what the next line is.
Some of the paraphrases of Donne’s petitions resonate:
O most mighty and merciful God, though you have knocked me off my feet you have not separated me from my foundation, which is yourself . . . Though you have weakened my knees so that they cannot bow to you, the knees of my heart are bowed to you forever. (Devotions by John Donne, page 18)
And I remember a friend, Barbara Black, who wrote of the disease that took her ability to draw and paint. She loved art! Here is how she wrestled:
anything but that
“Send anything but that,” I cried,
and still the thing I feared did come;
I watched its shadow rise
and shrank in terror from the blow:
“Oh, Lord, this thing I cannot bear!”
And yet Thy tender love did send it me
in answer to my prayer.
My prayer! My cry Thou heedest not
and leav’st me sick, in pain.
And still Thy presence sears and binds –
is all my praying vain?
And still it comes, this fearful dark;
I cannot stem the tide.
“No more,” I cry, “I know my strength!”
And then, Thou, God replied,
“Thy frenzied strength thou knowest, ah
but thou dost not know Mine.” ~1991
Yep – not appreciating the resourcefulness of the Author to sustain His characters in all their scenes creates a lot of unnecessary tension, and robs me of charm, I cannot afford to lose!
God bless you dear reader — thank you for your time!
You might like: When the Deliverance is not the One You Want
An excellent post my old friend! Love Donne! Didn’t know your dear artist friend, but knew of her from you. I got the first shot today, and God delivered that one into my lap via an unexpected providence. Your response is the best and most humane for one’s own sake, to rest in the perfect providence of God, and paint and read …and abide!
Hi! This paraphrase by Philip Yancey is so useful! Congrats on your shot! Lord willing I am signed up, thanks to a reader who made a helpful suggestion —
Ah, Barbara Black, a true saint. For a while her grace lived among us, a grace to us supporter by the GRACE.
Barbara Black was a great teacher and probably had no idea of how long-lasting her lessons would be