“Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
“My boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places.” I had already decided that this was the title for this post, regardless of the outcome of Allistaire’s bone marrow test. It would be a willful believing, that such is true, regardless of my circumstances. I wanted to take possession of such truth whether the news was what we have so hoped or what we have most feared. I thrust a marker in the ground and say that here, this is where the Lord, out of His infinite kindness, has chosen to direct my life. Sten and I long ago, when Solveig was just a wee baby girl, decided that rather than saying, “No,” all the time to her, we would use the phrase, “out-of-bounds.” As skiers, we are well acquainted with the dangers of being out-of-bounds. You are told to stay within the bounds out of care for your wellbeing. As humans we revile being told we cannot go somewhere or do something. The line or the law, makes the rebel in our hearts rise up all the more. We are just licking our lips to cross over – to test the waters. We don’t really believe our wellbeing is what is at stake – we are confident something is being withheld from us, something that we should have, something we have the right to have. Paradox is part of what spurs on my faith. Over and over I find that the truth of God defies our logic, our reasoning. God says we are slaves to sin, so He wants to free us from that but then He says, hey – be bound to Me. Why would I want to escape from slavery just to be enslaved all over again? According to God, being constrained to Him is the source of all goodness and life. So – you’re tired and weary? Take this yoke, this implement of hard labor – put this on your back. That makes no sense. Oh wait, until I see that I am bound to the Living God whose strength is made perfect in my weakness. Mysteries. Beautiful.
Over the years this 6th verse of Psalm 16 has been settling its way deeper and deeper into the cracks of my heart. My boundary lines – those ways that my life is contained – those ways my life is not – they have fallen in pleasant places. So often I look around at my life, and think, “Nope, not pleasant, not appreciating these defining lines you’ve set up in my life Lord.” I have spent so much time worrying and contemplating how to get over these wretched walls that close in my life. I have beaten at the wall and roared at them in fury. I have cried in a heap against these monoliths. I have despised my constraints. Two and a half years ago, nearly a year before Allistaire first got sick, the Lord first said to me, “This is your life, Jai. Right here, within these walls. This is where I have you. Stop spending all your time and energy trying to knock down walls. Look at the life I have given you. It is no mistake. It is not some accidental alternate path. It is not an oops or a second-rate option. It is my beautiful intention for you. This is the place where I will turn darkness into light. This is the place where life will grow up out of the muck of death. This is the place where I have called you to love and to have eyes to see me. This is where I want you to expend your energies. This is where your boundary lines have fallen. Trust me. If and when it is time to remove one of these walls and move you away from this place – it is nothing for Me – it is no effort or challenge. I will accomplish my good plan for your life. Rest. Crumple into me. Wait on Me. Watch for what I will do.”
The Lord my God has given me many walls – walls that have closed in and seemingly cut off the sun. But just as there will be no need for the sun in heaven because the glory of the Lord will illuminate all things – so I can turn my back on the walls and fix my gaze on Him.
Today, God was pleased – No, I think He is pretty much probably down right giddy – My Father knocked down a wall. A wall that felt insurmountable, impenetrable, unyielding – got a hole busted right through it!
Around 4:30pm, I was curled up around Allistaire in her hospital bed. I napped while she napped for the very first time since entering the hospital in February. My mental, emotional and physical exhaustion warranted a nap with my little sweets. Without even attempting stealth or quiet, Dr. Burroughs burst into the room and through the curtain.
“Hematopathology Report: Interpretation: Bone Marrow, aspirate: No abnormal myeloid blast/monocyte population identified. Comment: There is no immunophenotypic evidence of residual acute myeloid leukemia by flow cytometry. Correlation of these findings with morphology is recommended.”
Did ya get that? There is no detectable cancer! We still await morphological and cytogenetic tests, but they are highly unlikely to contradict the flow cytometry test. Zero percent. An unbelievably small number. An impossibly small number.
Glory be to God in the Highest! Check you out – knocking down a wall like it’s nothing.