It was a day filled with fatigue. I did the household chores sluggishly, stopping once in while to catch some much needed breath. “It must be the graduation parties,” I whispered to myself. It was that time at campus when phone calls were eagerly waited for because they were equated to good food, good company and clean fun. Upon completing the chores, I settled down to some reading. However, sleep got the better of me. I didn’t want to sleep. It isn’t like me to take a nap at noon. I wasn’t hungry either. A bit tired maybe but this was no reason to take a nap. Enraged at my state, I decide to check on my pals on the other side of the great hill. I plodded my way there envisaging a good conversation. That wasn’t to be. I bounced and found my way back to my humble abode. What had forced me to get out of my room, this I found myself doing-taking a nap. At night, I tossed and turned like crazy. Occasionally, I cleared my throat and gasped for air. Then the tossing and turning continued. It was a long night. I rarely experience such but once in a while they come along. To many out there who are asthmatic, this might be an everyday occurrence. Allow me to give a voice to my inner struggles .
I was at one time diagnosed to be in danger of developing asthma. I must have been 12 years old then. The naivety and pressure to make a lasting impression on my peers drove me to a most foolish thought. I have the cool guy’s disease. No more heavy chores for me. After all… am asthmatic. An inhaler? Wow! Now that is really cool. Watch out everybody! Here comes the new kid on the block. The top cat. The smooth Casanova. Never did it ever occur to me that something so freely available as oxygen could be inaccessible to my lungs. Did you know that oxygen is one of the most expensive commodities in hospital? I trained in a hospital once and it took quite a few consultations before a patient was put on oxygen. I am a fast walker. This is something I pride in. It separates me from the crowd. However, when the lungs decide to take the afternoon off, I often have to stop, bend down with my hands on my knees, and gasp for air. Numerous times I have wanted to jump and sing like crazy for my Lord-especially on mission grounds. But noooo! My lungs force me to dance gently. Like a cool guy does; Sway my arms in a Caribbean style and not some wild Marakwet (that’s my tribe) style. In spite of all these struggles, there are some things that I have come to appreciate.
Scripture has it that reckless words pierce like a sword. Many times, my words have caused pain in the hearts of my hearers. Unfortunately, more than often, it’s the ones whom I love most whom I hurt. I have found myself on bended knees pleading with the Lord to tame my tongue. When my lungs go asthmatic, my tongue is tamed. Words are few, thought out and spoken in love. It is during such times that many are blessed being around me. It is also during such times that I take time to reflect on life-drawing a line between the urgent and the important. Making that phone call that was long overdue. Saying those words that spur the soul into servitude to the Most High. For such times, I am eternally grateful to my Father in Heaven.
When my lungs have threatened to go on strike- go slow to be more specific-my heart and mind would awaken to a new desire. Books. An insatiable thirst for stories from saints of the old arises from within. Eric Liddell, Peter Keller, Army Carmichael, Temalikas, Mother Teresa are just but the few whose lives have moved me immensely. This would spur me onward to live for Christ without any reservations. Totally sold out as some hip saints would call it.
In all of these, do I cherish the asthmatic symptoms? Absolutely not! A tear or two have streamed down my cheeks in beseeching the Good Lord to take them away from me. I identify with Paul who asked the Lord to take away the thorn in his flesh. I also find great encouragement in the Lord’s answer.
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2nd Corinthians 12:9a
I do not yet have the kind of faith Paul had that drove him to boast all the more gladly about his weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on him. However, this I am ready to do.
“Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.”
I am confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in my Lungs. One day these asthmatic symptoms will be a thing of the past. This will not be in heavenly bliss where I would be in the imperishable new body. Nay! Not at all! This will be in this lifetime so that I can testify of His Goodness to the mortals. Even if He doesn’t come through as my finite mind perceives, I will still testify of His goodness. He is who He is and nothing can change that. All in all I will give thanks in all circumstances. I will rejoice in the Good Lord. He is my oxygen. I will…
“…go out and leap like calves
released from the stall.”