Dorothy has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH - a rare and serious lung disease) and most likely has Pulmonary Veno-Occlusive Disease (PVOD - an extremely rare lung disease with no known treatment and doing a lung biopsy to confirm PVOD is dangerous to someone with PAH). Dorothy is on oxygen at all times and is unable to walk more than short distances. The Hazards are working with a specialist care center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. There are no plans for them to return to Africa or take on other overseas appointments for now.
Dwight is using his gifts and skills to minister in the SIM USA Office. He has joined the Information Systems group to assist in the setup of SIM USA's internal intranet, training returning missionaries in the risks and proper care in dealing with e-mail and Internet risks, documentation of policies and procedures and other duties while Dorothy's ongoing medical needs are being addressed. They are still on missionary support with SIM and plan to continue to minister through SIM as the Lord leads.
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PUZZLES AND LIFE (2020-07-13)
I love doing jigsaw puzzles and apparently so do many others, if the empty shelves in stores and ‘SOLD OUT’ notice on websites are any indication! Dwight and I picked out this puzzle while at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in the Outer Banks a few weeks ago. Yes, it is very cool, but it is also deceptively hard!
As I was working on the puzzle with varying degrees of frustration and success, I thought about the ways jigsaw puzzles are like my life and ways in which they are not. First, let me talk about similarities.
1. There is a whole bunch of pieces that seem overwhelming when looking at them as I dump them out of the box. It takes time to sort through them, turning them picture side up, finding edge pieces and generally trying to make some sense out of them. Life can seem like that as well. Just a whole lot of pieces that are overwhelming. Covid 19. Taxes. Poor health. Family member’s struggles. Friend’s problems.
2. When the pieces are sorted, and I start to put them in place, I usually start with the border. This border was difficult as there were really multiple borders. Just one border had the straight edges. I found myself just laying all the straight edges out and trying one after the other in order to find THE one that fit. It was very slow going. I can so easily think my life is very slow going. Not having a lot of energy, it takes me so much longer to accomplish a task. It very much feels like I try one strategy and then another, looking for THE one that works.
3. When there is a sea of pieces, it is hard to pick out the ones I am looking for. Note the blue and white of the borders. It took me a long time to realize that the outer border actually had a solid inner border. Once I figured that out, I was able to figure out which pieces attached to the outer border and which ones were the inner border. I need to take more time in my life to look for distinguishing characteristics which make it easier. For instance, I was watching a lot of murder mysteries. One of my favorite types of TV, but I finally realize that watching so many of them was skewing my thoughts. So, I switched to Little House on the Prairie. I am so enjoying watching a show that holds up truth and integrity and the Bible. My outlook is better because I have figured out my borders.
4. I can get a bit overwhelmed in putting a puzzle together. I KNOW it will come together, but it just doesn’t seem like it will happen any time soon. All the green pieces looked the same. All the sky looked the same. But, as I started to work on sections, I realized that there were so many variations in the pattern and colors within the green, making it easier. It was also easier when Dwight finished lighthouses and put them in place. Both of these things are about observation and getting perspective. Right now, I could easily focus on all the problems and how things don’t seem like they are ever going to improve, but instead I need to focus on God’s word and what He promises. I KNOW He is in control. The second point with this is that I just needed to start working. That is how I need to tackle tasks in life. Just start.
5. There is so much joy when you finish a particular section and even that joy is eclipsed by the joy of putting the last piece in place. I get great joy when I finish a task that God has given me. How much more joy will I have when I am standing, kneeling or falling on my face in His presence.
OK, now some big differences.
1. I choose what puzzles I will buy and put together. I choose the picture, the degree of difficulty and the number of pieces. I don’t get to choose my life. I don’t get to choose the individual pieces, nor do I get to choose the finished picture. But, I can trust the One that does.
2. When I finish a puzzle, it is left on the table for a day or so and then it is all taken apart, put back in the box, ready to do again another time. My life will never be taken apart. I don’t get to do the same thing again and again. Instead, I have to choose to live each hour of each day in the presence of God, under the authority of God and to the glory of God.
I recently read Isaiah 52.12, “For the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” What a promise. No matter what my pieces. No matter the degree of difficulty, He goes before me and He has my back!
God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.