What does it mean when the same theme shows up from unrelated sources in unrelated ways several times in less than a week? It means God’s trying to teach you something.
This happened to me just a couple of weeks ago. Let me count for you the ways God brought a theme to my attention:
1. That week: a biblical truth.
I started reading Ecclesiastes in my devotions, and a new theme jumped out at me from 2:24 (a theme repeated in 3:13, 3:22, 5:18, and 8:15):
“Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.”
The message God had for me was to LIVE. Eat, drink, and enjoy my work — live life to the fullest — whether I’m healthy or not.
2. Monday: a new friend.
As I “rode” the stationary bike at physical therapy, I watched an elderly gentleman dance and sing along to the music as he did his exercises a short distance away. We started chatting, and before I left I teased, “Frank, can you be here when I come back on Wednesday? It’s so much more entertaining when you’re here.”
He turned and looked at me and said, in all seriousness, “You know, Melissa, with everything going on right now, I just want to enjoy life and live every moment to the fullest.”
3. Wednesday: a powerful interview.
I “just happened” to go onto the Revive Our Hearts website of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, where the podcast link on the home page “just happened” to be an interview with Sue Thomas, a deaf Christian woman whose career with the FBI inspired one of my favorite TV shows. In that interview, Sue Thomas said,
You see, from the moment that I surrendered to Him and I said that He had to live in me, there was a healing that began to take place in the acceptance of my deafness. Acceptance is one thing, embracing it and living it is something else.
4. Thursday: an encouraging conversation.
I called my Christian Medi-Share provider to ask about a bill, and I soon found common ground with the woman who took my call in our similar health situations. More of my story came out than I had expected, and in her kind response the representative encouraged me to embrace my situation. And then quoted a verse from Ecclesiastes.
Did you pick up on the theme here?
To set some context, this year has been difficult. I visited several different practitioners, spent a lot of money, and hoped and prayed for at least improvement if not healing. I have neither healed nor improved.
With each practitioner, I prayed for wisdom, I prayed for clear direction, and I believed (and still believe) that God opened the door to each opportunity. And each time I stepped through the door hoping and praying for a change to my situation.
But my situation hasn’t changed.
And just a few weeks ago I began to realize, Perhaps there won’t be a change. I have been fighting so hard against my situation, fighting the limitations around me, fighting for a difference. Of course praying for contentment and peace and acceptance, but still, subliminally, fighting.
But God has told me to stop fighting. To come to grips with the reality that my situation may not change. To live 100% where I am right now rather than keep putting it off until I’m “healthy.”
God has told me it’s time to stop rejecting and start accepting. I need to throw aside the map I’d written out for my life and accept where He’s taking me. I need to not just accept but EMBRACE the health struggles that limit me.
When I think of embracing my limitations, I think of a scene from the movie Rosewater: the protagonist, Maziar Bahari, has been in solitary confinement in Iran’s Evin Prison, held and brutally interrogated for his suspected work as a spy. After a phone call to his wife (his first contact with her since his arrest) that restores his hope instead of abolishing it, as his interrogator intended, we find Maziar back in solitary confinement — and this time he’s dancing.
He’s dancing. Inside his prison cell. He’s closed in by four blank walls, the door locked, all freedom taken away, but, buoyed by the hope inside him, he dances. Within those four walls.
I have hope too. Like Maziar, I want to embrace my limitations. I want to thrive in the valley of my restrictions.
I want to dance inside my prison cell.