Setting the Stage

Laying on my bed in the Wurzburg, Germany, Army Hospital, I hurt. Bad. Jan was scared, wrestling with two kids, household, and more, far from family. Something was killing me and the Docs had no clue what it was. After frantic tests and ultra sound, they discovered a liver abscess the size of a baseball. All the organs on the right side of my body swelled up, and it hurt like a son of a gun.

At that point, I looked up at the ceiling and prayed, “Lord, if you take me home, it won’t hurt anymore.”

The divine chuckle, as God spoke to me, was very much in my own arrogant, self-satisfied language. You see, God met me where I was, in that moment. He said, “Stop being a wienie.”

Three weeks in that bed, antibiotics, and fever that melted my body down to around 160 pounds did not solve the problem. An Ultra Sound on a Thursday led to the diagnosis that my liver abscess had not reduced and was about to split my liver open or burst. If it split open, I would bleed out in my body cavity and get my wish. If the abscess burst, the infection and sepsis in my body cavity would kill me slower, but it would kill me. Friday morning, they flew me to Landstuhl and advanced treatment by the Army’s top Internal Medicine people.

The Cat Scan was Monday morning. Tuesday morning, Jan and I sat in the Internal Medicine Doc’s office and he wore a confused expression as he said, “Your abscess is gone. We do not know how that happened.”

The human body does not accept back a baseball sized chunk of muck and puss and go about its business. Usually, when an abscess like that bursts, it infects the entire body and the end is near. Or it bursts the organ and the end is really near. Instead, I had a reduced hole in my liver but the abscess was gone.

Driving back home to our house outside Wurzburg, I realized that God had reached out and touched my arrogant, pride filled, self-magnified boneheaded presence with complete physical, mental, and spiritual brokenness… Then healed me. He knocked all my Churchy knowledge and geekiness out of my head, into my heart, and turned it into a love story.

Though I came to faith at 14 years old, TRUE faith, that moved into my heart, was the end result of my liver abscess adventure. I went from being a geeky Jesus Fan to being a Redeemed Jesus Follower. I was 32 years old, Lindsay 3, Lauren 7, and Jan 32. Jonathan and Justin were in our future.

Here’s the key. The healing of my liver abscess was not the miracle. It was the tool God used for the miracle of moving faith from my head into my heart. Of redeeming me. Focus on the miracle maker… Not the miracle. Otherwise, we might miss the point as we travel the Scarlet Thread.

God WOKE me, but I’m still a recovering Pharisee and constantly must beg forgiveness.


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