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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Space (01/23/06)

TITLE: What God Desires
By Lois Jennison Tribble


Even before paralysis begins to creep ominously up my legs, I know I'm in crisis. With every passing second, it's harder to function...to think clearly. I must find the way! He must increase, but I must decrease.... What makes the words of John the Baptist seem important to me now?

I lack energy to keep my eyes open, but I hear paramedics bustling around me. Their frustration is palpable--even with oxygen I'm suffocating; my cells block entry. I know they're doing all that's possible.

Creeping paralysis: Socrates' was caused by hemlock--how long till he died? Mine is different: untreatable disease inhibits my capacity to generate energy. When vital functions are threatened, nonessentials shut down. Once core energy is consumed, then...? "Untreatable": a strange word in this day of medical marvels.

His increase, my decrease: no other options? Like a camel through the eye of the needle, either I'm too big or the opening's too small. If "The Eye" were a location...perhaps a kneeling camel released from its burden might pass. My legs are boards, lifeless appendages without feeling. I cannot kneel!

"B-B-B-Boards! Boards!" I struggle to communicate; no one understands. My husband speaks urgently on the phone with my doctors: an MD-turned-homeopath in his eighties and his Ukrainian partner, a Messianic-Jew. Extensive ER experience undergirds their skill in detecting the right homeopathic remedy to reverse my symptoms. I know they are trying. I feel my son's reassuring squeeze, but I cannot return it. My hands--I've lost movement.

I am powerless: truth brings freedom. Like sunlight breaking through clouds, recognition makes clear vision possible. Give God room! What is not possible for man is possible with God.

Of course! If men have power for the job, where is God's glory? If we could save ourselves, why was Jesus' death necessary? I must decrease...

My flesh arrests me; I've lost control. Jesus loves me; this I know.... A cradle of childlike trust sustains me.

Give God space. He already fills the vastness of creation; He desires delivery of what He bought with His blood: His creatures and their innermost sanctuary, the hidden space within.

I gave Him my heart...what more can there be? But inwardly I stand in the doorway and block: no admittance past here!

God is so good. I see Achan's buried treasure concealed in his tent: things promised to God, separated out not for God but for himself. Why is Achan's face like mine?

Let go.

What am I concealing? Has Christ been a cruel taskmaster like Pharaoh, withholding straw from his brickmakers? God forgive me! The Doorway-to-all-possibility swings open. Confession yields victory, exposing my hiding place.

I surrender, pulling a spiritual ripcord. His presence lifts me like the sudden bursting of a tightly packed parachute, as fast as air rushes to fill a vacuum. Why have I acted as if He begrudges His children what they require to do His labor? He longs to bless me!

Labor...my children.

What are they doing? I hear the clatter of my youngest son and daughter rummaging through a bag of near-empty bottles: discarded homeopathic remedies. How did they know I kept them tucked in a private space inside my bathroom drawer? "Hurry!" my husband insists.

As the paramedics watch, my son inserts a tiny glass dropper between my lips. He squeezes the bulb end, releasing the last precious drops of Conium solution: an extremely dilute form of hemlock, the substance that induces paralysis. As "likes cure likes", it could trigger a positive response. It isn't fresh, but how is it possible we even have any? The paralysis nears my diaphragm: I gasp for air. What's the use of Conium at this stage? I'm out of time.

Again, I usurp center stage, directing God to a seat in the balcony. What gives me the right to command? Is He, or is He not my Master--Author and Finisher of my faith?

Step aside; get out of His way. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

He is responsible; He will provide. My job is simple: trust and obey.

To God be the glory, JEHOVAH Uzzi, the LORD my strength: all sufficient; sovereign. With confidence in Him, in His love--I am prepared--whatever.

My suddenly-active feet startle me. Until now, I've been struggling unsuccessfully to move them on my own. Directed by Jesus Christ, how far might they take me?


John 3:30; Mark 10:25-27; Joshua 7; Philippians 1:6 (NIV); Psalm 28:6-9

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sandra Petersen 01/31/06
What an article! When I read the word 'hemlock' I wondered if the narrator had poisoned herself on purpose. Then to find that 'hemlock' dilution was the cure to the creeping paralysis. This medical emergency provided an excellent backdrop to reflections of "He must increase...I must decrease". Thanks for making us think!
Debbie OConnor02/06/06
Lois, I'm so glad you're back! What a story! I didn't see this as I tripped about and read entries the first time.

Letting go, giving God space--all things are possible with Him!
Verlie Ruhl02/20/06
What a powerful story, Lois! I felt like I was struggling to breathe myself while I was reading it. I loved the scriptural parallel--deacreasing, increasing. With God, everything really does turn out right, doesn't it? What a comfort!

I thought the flow, the balance between action and thought, the word choice was great--I just stumbled in one place, where you said, ". . . stand in the doorway and block. . . "

Great job!
Brook Phelps03/23/06
What a wonderful story. How serene. Truth of the peace that comes with God and His son Jesus Christ. When faced with impossible obstacles there is comfort in knowing God will provide. Yes, truly, with God all things are possible! Thank you for sharing your work and Godís unfailing love. May the Lord bless and keep you. May He shine His face upon you and bring you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26.) Best wishes.
Sally Hanan01/25/07
I miss your writing Lois - when can I get my fix??