by Mike Ratliff
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39 NASB)
As part of our annual insurance sign up each year where I work, I undergo various physical examinations and some of those results lead to further testing, but most of the time, I just get counseled to get such and such level more in line with what they consider to “be healthy.” They attempt to force us to do this by elevating the cost of our insurance if we don’t meet certain goals, et cetera. While I was I at my doctor’s office a few months ago undergoing my annual tests to see if certain prescription medications I take need to be changed or whatever, he asked me to take a blood test as well, which included a test for a PSA level. My tests came back .2 higher than what is normal for my age which is 60. I just shrugged. There are medications to shrink the prostrate gland after all, right? Well, my insurance company insisted that I go to a Urologist and undergo a combination ultrasound/Biopsy test, which took place last Friday.
I won’t go into the demeaning parts of that experience. It was quite painful even though they used some sort of local anesthetic. Also, as the doctor started taking his pictures, he rotated his camera I thought I was coming apart. Then he said he was ready to take samples. I thought he was going to take one, but he told me he was taking 12 and there would be this very loud pop when each one was taken. With each pop (and I was counting) I began to feel more and more like there was no oxygen in the room and that my throat was closing off. My tongue felt huge and I couldn’t swallow. At the eighth pop I heard him say 4 more to go and so I decided to just deal with it. I heard four more pops and felt very sick and was ready to get up, but then I heard him say, “Four more to go…” I passed out.
The next thing I remember was the nurse and the doctor telling me they were done and then they both sort of panicked when they saw how pale I was and that I was struggling to catch my breath and so forth. He said I was going into some form of shock. It was about 30 minutes before I could sit up and get dressed. I was useless the rest of the evening and did nothing, but lie down and nap before going to bed and then sleep all night.
Since then I have had family over, which was great, and have been dealing with amazingly stupid things at work, which was not great. Through it all my rock has been my abiding in Christ, which is what it should be for all believers all the time as Paul tells us in Romans 8:31-39 (above) and what our Lord tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 (below).
25 “Therefore, I say to you, do not be anxious about your life what you might eat or what you might drink; nor for your body what you might put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look to the birds of heaven for they do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not yourselves worth more than they? 27 And who among you being anxious is able to add one cubit to his life span? 28 And concerning clothing, why be anxious? Observe the lilies of the field how they grow. They do not labor nor spin, 29 but I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed as one of these. 30 And if God so clothes the grass of the field being alive today and yet tomorrow is thrown into an oven, will he not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Therefore, do not be anxious saying, ‘What might we eat? or, ‘What might we drink?’ or, ‘With what might we clothe ourselves?’ 32 For all these things the Gentiles strive for; for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 34 “Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day has sufficient evil in itself.” (Matthew 6:25-34 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)
Obviously, much of what I have been going through, and what you have been going through, that we do not really find pleasant, is meant to bring the truth of this teaching into clarity for us. Yes, there is common grace, but for those truly in the Kingdom of God, those in Christ, they come under the full care and provision of God (Romans 8:32; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 5:7). Our Lord is teaching us that we are not to despair about our daily provision, our jobs, our careers, et cetera like unbelievers. Why? God knows what is best for us and provides that for us.
Since the company I work for began merging with another company about 18 months ago things have really changed. In fact, things have change to the point that I work from home nearly all the time. My office is my home office. I support data centers in Kansas, Colorado, Montana, and California all from my desk here in my basement. I have a softphone on my laptop that is just like the one I used to have at my desk when I had a real office. I attend several meetings every week and sometimes several a day via that phone. In any case, when this all started there was a lot of despair and many of our employees panicked and left. I was one of those who simply got angry and started looking for another job. However, the more I looked the more it became apparent that God wanted me to remain right here and go through this, therefore, I have taken Matthew 6:10 literally and pray it back to him every day, “Let your kingdom come, let your will be done as in heaven also on earth.” Think about that. This is a petition of surrendering our will to his will. His will is always best. When we are despairing and resentful about our circumstances I promise you we are not doing this.
I have placed my job situation totally into his hands. If I get a new job and my wife gets what she wants, which is to relocate back to Oklahoma, it will be according to his will and will be in his timing. If not and I am to remain here either until I die or retire or our Lord returns, then in all this I will rejoice because this is the will of God.
Soli Deo Gloria!