Tag Archives: adversity

Cindy and I sort of have an agreement that we will not spend our household budget on inflated gifts and flowers for Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean I can’t put something celebratory in her online profile.

A social media caption I wrote this morning, which grossly understated her contribution, read:

“There’s nothing quite like a girl who's willing to put up with late night shifts, extended hours, insecurity regarding hubby's safety, taking care of things at home, and habitual control issues that can wear and tear on any relationship. My valentine is a champion! "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. ...Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." (Proverbs 31:10-11, 29, NIV) Happy Valentine's Day, Cindy Lemmon!”

Her husband has full confidence in her......

Cindy’s had anything but a happy way of it lately. Our precious furry friend, Duke, took ill a couple months ago and we finally had to put him down.  In his last days, Cindy broke her shoulder heroically cradling Duke instead of catching herself in a fall.  She’s been nursing her gimpy fin ever since, dealing with intense pain and all the inconveniences of not being able to flap both wings, but she’s done it with a smile. As if pain and grief weren’t enough of a duo, they teamed up to form a villainous alliance with unmet deadlines at work, an upper respiratory infection, and the typical specks of irritation in any home or relationship that make everything chafe when rubbed together.

Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. 

I’ve been so overwhelmed with Nursing School and whether I’m making a passing grade on any given day that I have failed to recognize what the lady beside me is pulling off. An honest inventory of the foes she’s fighting would include: my mid-life career change, being a Nursing School wife (every bit as demanding as police-wife), seemingly endless missionary preparations with ambiguous ministry launch plans and dates, plus all the stuff that goes in between like medical evaluations, surgery prospects, emptying nest, outstanding debt, and more. The truth is life is tough. But when the ones who live it give it what they’ve got and come out shining like my wife does, that’s a sparkling example of God’s refining fire at work.

I have failed to recognize what the lady beside me is pulling off. 

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33, NIV

Thank you for praying for my Valentine! She’s got her hands full and I’m not always the most attentive sidekick.

When I was a teenage brother of three, I took Proverbs 17:17 out of context to suit myself. On my bedroom door I posted a sign that read, “A brother is born for adversity,” and I did my best to bring to each of them their fair share of it. I knew it was an ironic perversion of the phrase, but it served my purpose.

The truth of that verse struck me recently, and I was pierced with the awareness that the adversity for which I am preparing has not yet come. I have no idea to what extremes I will be pushed, or to what disaster I will respond. I do know this: God’s purposes are always provided for and He is transplanting a sheepdog to where the sheep are very near the wolves. I will be tending the flock in a different role than I ever have before, but the Spirit reveals to me that, as bad as things have been in Uganda and continue to be in her surrounding countries, there is something coming which none of us has yet seen or understood.

While mulling this over, I was recently preparing for a speaking engagement in which I would address the survivors of fallen police officers. I considered how I could adequately summarize my own traumatic experience in a way that would communicate the gravity of my pain without going into so much detail that it would divert the focus off the healing. This phrase was given to me:

LRA child soldier“I was forced to kill my fellow officer.”

As soon as I said it, I was overwhelmed with passion for the children escaping from the conscripted service of Joseph Kony and the LRA. Recently forced out of Uganda, the LRA press-gangs boys into military service forcing them to kill their family members and neighbors as initiation into their army, and exploits girls as sex slaves and burden-bearers. Refugees from this genocidal terrorist organization, including those who escape its service, often flee to Uganda.

As I prepared to communicate a few thoughts on “support” to a fellowship of  grieving Floridians organized for that very purpose, the appropriateness of God calling someone with my experience to minister healing in Uganda became abundantly clear to me: I, too, was forced to kill one of my own.



Scripture references:

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Matthew 24:22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.