Feasting on Crumbs

She was dying of cancer. We had been friends since college. We had cried together and laughed much. Now she was walking a path I couldn’t.

When we were together she still did most of the talking. Her familiar laugh was sprinkled throughout the conversation. One of the last times I talked to her she said, “Thank you for the crumbs.”

She explained, “Every day I ask God for crumbs to get me through the day. He knows I can’t eat a big meal but need to survive on crumbs.” She related how every day she watches carefully for the crumbs God would provide. She looked forward to each one knowing they came from her Father’s hand.

Her faith amazed me. She was learning that the most valuable thing in her life was the moment by moment presence and provision of the God who loved her. He was walking with her through the darkness that was enveloping her. She was learning to let go of her children, husband, family and friends. She was drawn ever closer to her God. I wondered as I watched her those last weeks.

Years later as I walk through my own dark valleys I think of her. So, today I look for crumbs…knowing that my God is carefully laying them out for me to find.

A Tale of Two Surgeons

I sought out a surgeon to fix my broken ankle.  He examined the bone, made a plan and scheduled the surgery.  The surgery was uneventful.  Things went as planned.  They gave me four pages of very specific written instructions, “the number” to call if we had any trouble and waved good-bye as my husband took me home.  Within hours the trouble began.

It took two days for us to convince them there was a problem.  I had an allergic reaction to the first pain killer.  The second pain killer sent me into another tailspin and I was unable to eat more than a few spoonfuls at a time.  by day three I was so weak I was having trouble communicating.  late into the third day an ambulance was called and I spent five hours in the ER.  They sent me home with more adjustments to my medications and as I continued to not improve my family did their own research and came up with a treatment plan.  By day five I was finally turning a corner.  Through all of this we had called “the number” nine times.  Usually we got an answering machine.  A receptionist would then call us back and forward our complaint on.  Half of the time they never called back.  We talked to many nurses who were irritated at the frequency of our calls and assumed we were not following the plain instructions we had been given.  We were told to call our pharmacist, our family doctor etc.  In all of those conversations not once did our surgeon call us back or speak to us on the phone.

My post-op appointment was scheduled for day nine.  There was the surgeon.  He appeared to be in good health.  (We were afraid he had been in a tragic accident.)  My husband mentioned that the recovery had been hard.  “Yes,” the surgeon responded.  “I heard about all your trouble.”  Nothing more was said.  He said things looked good and he would see me in three weeks.

There is another surgeon.  This one seeks me out.  He sees my brokenness.  I am content to leave it.  He insists on addressing the fractured pieces one by one, making the cuts, realigning the bones, making it whole and binding it tight.  He has written a book of instructions and encouragement.  He sits with me as I heal and watches over me as I sleep.  He gently wipes the tears as they fall from the pain of the procedure He is determined to see through.   He grieves over the painful work that must be done, but He presses on, never leaving me, bringing others to encourage and teach me through each operation.  The process is slow, painful and hard, but the surgeon is always right there.  Carefully watching and adjusting as I respond to Him.

The first surgeon was skilled.  He did the job he set out to do.  I sought the “provision” of His skill and he obliged.  The second surgeon offers something much more valuable.  He offers His “presence”.  We often want God’s “provision” when His deepest desire is to share His “presence” with us.   May you learn to seek this God who is determined to “be with you”.

“…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20b – See also Matthew 1:28 & Revelation 21:3