I noticed. Parked in a lot I used a decade before, I stared near an office where I served years prior to my illness. I watched a rabbit as she leaned her head in search of breakfast. I noticed her head jerk down, then upward quickly. She allowed her ears to stand tall, announcing control and order. She inspected the ground near a lake. Her face darted down again. She came up chewing.
That pear-shaped, silver body looked both calm and nervous, both in control and much afraid, both where she belonged and a stranger on foreign soil. I related. My shape didn’t match her design, but my feelings fit how I assumed she felt.
I depend on a head that searches and searches. For names, words. For instructions given only moments before. For ideas formed. For numbers known. For events experienced and aromas smelled. My mind searches and searches. Sometimes it finds.
It seeks to locate and recall. While staring at a sunrise shining in mystery, I launch reflecting dares to my wrinkled instrument of research. I often feel parked, unable to go forward. I feel like one watching, rather than one living or being. I stare, I glance, I bow, I swallow. Calm and nervous, I live. In control and afraid, I smile. At home and a stranger, I write about lessons learned.
Unlike my new rabbit friend, I rarely search for breakfast. The organized, morning man that I am – others might call me obsessive, controlling, stuck – knows what time to wake, knows where to find cereal, knows which medicine to take. Unless, of course, anything has been moved. When that happens, I search. No longer in control, I am a timid stranger, needing to learn from a rabbit.
Unable to locate what I want and need, I am no longer comfortable. I’m slowly learning, though, that my Maker wants me there. There. In person and aware of reality. A rabbit facing risks, knowing I no longer know as much as I did. There, living in an inner village I never hoped to locate, living as a person without all the answers or all the cures or all the victories. But still, living there. As I continue recovering and adjusting, I must depend on what He can do for me. My story is not just about me. It is about Someone Else who saved me. Someone Else who is still saving me from myself. During this non-stop surgical procedure of ongoing changes, I often want to jerk my head like a rabbit avoiding danger. I prefer to hop quickly toward a hide or be very silent, still and concealed by my surroundings so that no one can notice my real self. Or just continue eating, pretending nothing else matters but the moment and the feeling.
I’ve always known better. I’ve always been taught never to live that way. But now, I know so much more.
Walking near my rabbit friend, I wanted to tell her what I wrote. Stopping to avoid her fearful escape, I confessed more of myself to the Rabbit Maker. Looking toward the office of my past, I worked to recall.
*From Chris Maxwell’s book about his illness. To read more, purchase the eBook version of his book Changing My Mind on Amazon HERE.
It is so encouraging to read this. Being such a great teacher, preacher, writer, and man, you have this constant reminder of, yes how your life is different but, how God has continued to use you through this illness and through this journey to bring him glory. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It is hard to look at a man such as yourself and not be amazed at how great the God is that we serve. In spite of your weakness, the might power of God, who has enabled you to do the things you do, is a reminder to those around you that even when we can’t (physically, mentally, or spiritually), God can.
It is so amazing to see what a walking miracle you are. The struggles you face are just a reminder of how great our God is and that’s what they should be to you because every time you notice a weakness or struggle you have you should not see it as a weakness or struggle your, our God is showing us His strength and power through you. I am so greatful to have you in this season of my life.
The weaknesses you notice about you when they happen are just God’s way of showing you exactly how strong He is and how He shows you, you can do anything with him as your strength. Seeing you as this miracle gives me strength to know exactly how strong God is and know that I can trust him when I get weak and notice my weaknesses.
Being in a place where you somehow feel you should belong, but never quite feeling you do belong can be hard. I have revisited places from my past, but it is never quite like I expected. I learn from those times that my past helped shape me into who I am, but I can’t stay there forever. Living in the moment causes us to love where we are.
One element you have, Pastor Chris, over that rabbit, is faith. Wisdom. You know the Rabbit Maker. You know Him deeply. And you have Faith in Him. So when you feel like hopping away, you don’t. When you feel like hiding, you don’t. Why? Because you model true trust; true faith; true reliance on God; true worship. As remembering is more difficult for you, so you trust in God to help you remember. You trust in God to bring back to memory names and dates. For someone like me, I need to pay attention to someone like you. For you are on your knees in prayer thanking God for helping you to actually remember more than I am thanking God to have memory. I say that to say thank you for being a model. Thank you for showing me faithfulness.
I am so thankful for your wisdom and for your constant drive. You could have easily given up, but you are a fighter and not only do you fight for yourself, but you fight for others. You fight for us your students to see us succeed and be all that God has called us to be. I am constantly encouraged by you.
Seeing the work God has done in your life is incredible! The last line where you explained that you wanted to tell the rabbit to stop avoiding her fearful escape is convicting to say the least. So often I allow fear and approval of man to grasp my mind. The power of Christ and what He has done breaks every hold that fear has on our lives, yet it’s incredible easy to forget that. It’s easy to run back into the hole at any sign of upset. But, Jesus. He is greater. He is stronger. He has overcome.
This post encourages me to take risks. Just like the rabbit, who was aware of the risk he faced. I don’t mean that I want to take dangerous risks, but taking risks in ministry- stepping out in faith, sometimes on foreign soil or ground and being bold and obedient to what the Lord has instructed you to do. Speaking out that word you feel the Spirit has given you. When you do, and you see the fruit of your boldness, you know the risk was worth it.
God has made your weakness a strength. I know the turmoil it must have put your family through at first, but God has given you the grace to handle it like a true champion who has overcome. You have been quick to give God the glory for everything he has allowed you to do. My favorite part about your testimony is that God continues to use stories like yours to blow doctors away. Sometimes, a doctor may only be able to explain the cure in your file as a “miracle”. Praise be to God for your life and how you have been quick to give God the glory for your miracle.
It’s so interesting to see how God uses his Creation to speak to us. Something as small as a rabbit can have such a huge impact on us and be one of the best analogies for us to see God’s hand.
it is encouraging to read this blog because it really lets me examine my life and redirects my attention to the one who spoke breath into my lungs. I think i am in control yet at the same time i control nothing. i think i know a lot but at the same thing i know nothing. i think i am a lot and at the same time i am nothing. Without God i am nothing.
Such an interesting writing. I love how you said you wanted to tell the rabbit what you wrote. It is interesting how so much in the natural world reflects our supernatural relationship with God.