“It’s like juggling bowling balls!”
It’s a favorite saying of mine. I use it when I’m feeling overloaded and weary, handling more than seems humanly possible. It’s a quirky phase but fits so well, especially when hope is low and stress is high!
Can you picture this metaphor? Stresses and struggles are the bowling balls I try to keep in the air, heavier with every rotation, and often ending up with a few broken toes!
Juggling rubber balls or rings requires skill, strength, and perseverance. But trading those rubber balls for bowling balls would be crazy hard! It’s an illustration for living in a season ripe with challenges and a fair share of frustration while waiting for God to bring the victory.
April of 2022 was a “juggling bowling balls” kind of season for me. It was the beginning of the kind of season that made victory and resolution seem a long way off, if it came at all.
I spent the the last seven years caring for my elderly dad, who passed away a year ago. We had many trips to the ER, days or even weeks in the hospital with him, and the daily job of managing his 24/7 home care.
My siblings helped all they could, but it was my faithful and giving husband who traveled that road with me. He was my rock and my refuge, showing his love for both me and my dad by doing all he could to help.
Then came Thursday.
Severe flu-like symptoms and extreme fatigue came over my hubby; and by Saturday morning, I realized this was no flu. I took him to the ER, and the doctors rushed him through blood tests and scans, concluding he had severe sepsis from a liver infection. This was a shock to both of us, as my hubby is a strong, fairly healthy guy.
The doctors concluded with, “It’s good you brought him in. Tomorrow might have been too late.”
My jaw dropped, and my heart stopped. This had not been in my plan. Was it in God’s plan?
They put Hubby on strong IV antibiotics and admitted him to ICU. He was so very sick that he slept most of the first two days. I sat in his room watching over him, scared and praying. So much praying!
Then came Monday.
My dad’s caregiver calls and says she’s worried about his coughing, labored breathing and delirium. That evening, she called 911 to take him to the ER; yes, to the same hospital I was in with my hubby!
Hubby was on the fourth floor for seven days; Dad was on the sixth floor for fourteen. I went between the two floors, meeting with doctors, keeping Dad in bed (he was still confused), arranging lung-draining treatments, and learning to give IV drugs to them both when they went home.
I was stressed to my limits, traumatized a bit, and running ragged. Forget juggling at this point; my metaphoric toes were bloody and broken from being smashed by falling bowling balls!
And I prayed like I had never prayed before, asking God a lot of things but, ultimately, where is the victory…His victory… and when will it arrive?
Before I tell you the rest of the story, how God’s plan was seen and God’s name was glorified, I want to drive home two points:
God was there the whole time. He heard every prayer, felt every fear, held every tear. He knew what was coming, and none of it was a surprise to God.
God’s plan always results in victory! It may not look like what I anticipate or arrive when we want it to, but God’s knows what is needed. We can trust in that.
I know now that every moment suffered and every step taken were part of a plan that God was carrying out in our lives; not to test or punish us, but to teach us to trust Him. When we learn to trust and hope in the hardest of times, God’s plan bears its sweetest fruit!
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
The victory is never diminished by our waiting, wondering or suffering. On the contrary, the victory is all the sweeter because it produces hope and trust in us.
THAT is the victory worth waiting for!
Dad was home and breathing easier for now. We had IV antibiotics for both Dad and Hubby that I administered every day. Dad was back to himself and good for a while.
After Hubby’s seven weeks of IV antibiotics and me praying over his poor little liver every night, an ultrasound was given, hoping the medicine and the prayer had done their job. Instead, it showed spots on his liver, which could be a sign of something even more dangerous.
Two days later, an MRI was ordered to be sure. Hubby went in and returned to the car in minutes instead of hours. Why? The technician took a scan before the MRI. There was nothing there to be scanned!
Spots gone! Infection gone! And our greatest fears gone with them!
Here was God’s victory!
Here was where God’s plans showed their sweetest fruit!
Here was where God was glorified!
If you are in a “juggling bowling balls” kind of season, please take heart! God knows. He is there with you. He has a plan; and His sweet victory, whatever that means for you, is on its way.
May you be blessed as you trust in God’s plan for you, dear friends!