Grace. Revisited.

This past week my wife, Amanda, and I were on vacation.  It was a whirlwind tour that took us through Ohio for a wedding, a couple days with our parents in rural North Carolina, and then two stops in costal towns along the North Carolina coast.  It was romantic, refreshing, and restful.  

Vacations always provide an opportunity for me to grow, personally.  Whether it is marital conflict or dealing with financial problems or distance management of a ministry … vacations have always seemed to have provided a significant amount of conflict, both relationally and internally. 

I suppose this year wouldn’t be vacation without such tension.

Our first official day of vacation, Monday, brought a call from my doctor in response to blood work from a physical I had the week before.  The tests showed that something wasn’t right inside of me, something very serious.  There was no diagnosis or even a hint of diagnosis in the phone call.  There was no doctor with a chart and a prescription.  There was just the lingering knowledge that something inside my body wasn’t right.

For the first time in my life, I had to process through a scenario where my body could be failing me.  I thought about death and dying, about how I had mistreated myself through eating too much and not working out like I should, and about how irreplaceable health is.  

I wanted to relax.  I wanted to vacation.  I got that gift instead.

I also started reading a new book over vacation.  It’s not a quick read by any means, which normally means its something that I’ll love.  I love when people make things complicated.  I love reading books that split hairs and draw conclusions.  However, this book isn’t one of this books.

This book is about grace.

I forget about grace a lot.  I forget how expensive it was.  It was so expensive it cost God his only Son, Jesus.  I forget how expensive it was and try to pay for it a lot.  I try to be good enough.  I try to work hard an earn the favor.  

I try.  But I fail.  

I fail.

Grace is simply getting something you did not earn and you do not deserve.  Life through Jesus is something I do not deserve.  It is certainly something I cannot earn.

This week was a week of grace.  Throughout the week I began to hear the voice of the Savior earnestly reminding me that it is His worth and work that makes me right.  That I am eternally bound to him as Redeemer.  

Throughout the week it felt as though the knots of selfishness, pride, and fear were loosened inside my head as I began to re-experience His grace. 

This grace really is amazing.

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A medical explanation of my report:

There are two enzymes that naturally occur in your blood from your liver.  They are called ALT and AST.  When these levels are increased it means that there has been damage to your liver.  The normal levels for these enzymes are between 10-60; mine were around 180, more than double the normal amounts.

There are several things that could cause this: gaining weight and having fat deposits in your lives, the onset of Hepatitis A or B, medications can do this as a side effect, or it could be cancer.

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An update on my medical condition:

On Monday I had an ultra-sound of my internal organs.  They were looking for everything from abnormalities to tumors, to enlargements in my lymphatic system.  It was very stressful.

On Wednesday morning I received a call from the Doctor.  Everything is clear, and my insides looked completely normal.  This is a huge answer to prayer.

I will go in a couple of weeks and have my blood checked again.  In the meantime I am recommitting myself to my health and thanking Jesus for the opportunity to do so.

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