#5 Pull Up a Stone
“What Does God Want From Me?”
M. B. Fields, Jr.
Copyright © 2007 by Grand Organ Productions, LLC
All Rights Reserved
This is the latest in a continuing series of essays. Reading the previous essays is recommend, but not required.
I have Cancer. That is a pretty stark statement, isn’t it?
I will probably—within the foreseeable future—leave this world because of Cancer.
For those of you who are learning this truth for the first time, I have a little blog about this journey. You are invited to join me as I walk along the valley--with a host of friends. Although it is a walk through the valley, it is a journey filled with life, and living.
You can find us at http://www.writing.com/authors/kybudman/blog
As luck would have it, this is not the first time I have had the privilege of making this statement. The first time I was permitted to say these words was on June 26th, 1976. I had recently been diagnosed with a particularly humorless form of Cancer while serving as an Instructor at the United States Army Medical Institute at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The diagnosis was confirmed. My prognosis was to live, if I chose all possible forms of treatment, about six months.
For lack of an option, I requested (and was granted) to have a second diagnosis at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, in Denver, Colorado. There were two distinct reasons for this.
The first reason was that I knew someone there who had been working on a new and very aggressive treatment therapy for the particular family of Cancers that mine fell within. I needed some hope. I was, at not quite 21, just beginning the second career of my life. I was not ready to throw in the towel. Giving up my career was important enough to request the move. The idea of losing my life barely made contact with my conscience.
The second reason for my request was that if I was going to die, I wanted to do it in a place I loved. Denver was, is, and will always be a place that I dearly love. To me, it is one of the most beautiful places on this planet. I’ve seen most of the places on this planet. Denver strikes me (behind perhaps Salt Lake City, Utah) as the very best. FAMC was in Denver—I win twice.
I was granted permission to travel to FAMC for the second diagnosis, but I was also transferred there for the purpose (I was told later) of being medically retired from the active duty military. How’s that for a life-changing trip?
Shortly after my arrival at Fitz, the tests began. I was holding forth in the very room that President Eisenhower used so many times. I would spend a lot of time out on “The Eisenhower Porch”. It was a rooftop—actually the roof of the entrance to the facility. I had a lot on my mind. This special place provided the very best view anywhere in the city of the city, and the Rocky Mountains behind it to the West. It provided me with a bit of private--and personal--space to do some serious thinking.
Life had, in almost 21 years, been good overall. Yes, there had been a lot of difficulty and tragedy to spice it up a bit. I had been one very lucky little boy. A successful music career, a successful (if survival was the measure) military career, and a pretty decent life were all in the rear-view. If this one difficult thing was the equalizer, I had no complaints.
I had a very strong faith. It had been developed through years of happy times, and not-so-happy times. God was even then my “Dad”. My “Abba” (Father, or more loosely translated “Daddy”--as close as Hebrew can get to the idea) was just crazy stupid nuts in love with this kid--His kid. We were “tight”.
One morning, I finished with breakfast and the daily necessities, anticipating the morning sun of Denver out on the porch.
I wound up at The Chasm.
Things tend to happen at the speed of life. There’s no way around it. This morning, I began a journey that continues to this very moment.
I had been a good boy. I wasn’t scared. There was this overwhelming sense of the need to “wait”. I heard it over and over again. When I got to The Chasm, I did those things one does upon arrival. I looked around. I smelled the stench. I noticed other people hanging around. I saw meteors flyin’ into The Chasm. I even went over, lay down on my belly, and looked over to see what was IN The Chasm.
It was strangely, eerily quiet there. I didn’t know where I was, or why I was there. In truth I thought maybe I had died, and was headed to a most surprising conclusion! That just didn’t make sense to me. I really had been a good boy.
I began walkin’ around the property in my head and in my heart. I wasn’t sure why I was there, but I knew instinctively that I had been brought there. I also knew that I had been brought there fora specific reason. Regardless of what was going on TO me, The Chasm "experience" was going on within me.
People around the hospital noticed and became concerned for my health. Perhaps they thought I was beginning “the transition” into the active process of dying. I remember this so very well. I thought it was funny. What was wrong with these people? Why did they keep looking at me? Why were they acting like I was a sick person?
The Chaplains had visited a few times, and made themselves available to me should I desire to speak with them. I desired to speak with them every time they showed up. What I wished to speak about, they had no knowledge of—or at least so it seemed.
One Chaplain, however, did know. Chaplain (Maj) Donald Schmidt was a good ole Southern Baptist-cum-Methodist Chaplain from the south and we hit it off. Actually, we got kind of close.
One day, Chaplain Schmidt sat and observed me for a couple of hours. He didn’t say much, and neither did I. Finally, he asked me to tell him what was going on. Being the hillbilly who actually thought that people asked questions they wanted answers to, I told him. I told him where I was, in my head. I explained it, described it to a perfect “T”, and even made a running commentary for him about what was going on with me there.
I asked him one question:
“What Does God Want From Me?”
If you stop to think about it, I could have asked that man at least 10 million different questions. Somehow, I knew that this had something really important to do with Dad. I was at The Chasm because HE initiated the action. There was some reason for my being there. Dad wasn’t saying anything. He hadn’t felt the necessity to inform me of the first thing. I wasn’t scared or angry; I was not even disappointed. If Dad wanted to talk, I was willing to listen. Why change now!
Do you know what that crazy preacher man said to me?
“I don’t know. Ask God. I’ll bet He knows. If you really, really, REALLY want to know, God will tell you Himself!”
For three days, I did nothing but that. Don Schmidt stayed with me almost non-stop for those three days. He would eat meals with me. He would go to tests with me. He got in major (can you say, PUN!??) trouble because of me. The one thing Don Schmidt NEVER did during those days, was to leave me. This guy knew something in those day that wouldn’t even be written about for the first time until 25 years later. This Kentucky boy was about to “experience God"! He might get singed in the process, but Don Schmidt wasn’t gonna miss this show!
At some point during the third day, out on the porch just before sunset I heard a voice. It wasn't vocal, but it was a voice to be sure. It was a male voice, and sounded very much like my own. It modulated about the same way, and was in about the same register. But, it had a power, and a quiet authority like I have never heard either before, or since.
“Do You Love Me?”
I immediately answered, “Yes, Lord!”
Three times, I got the question. Three times, I answered the question the same way.
“What Do You Want From Me, Lord?”
“Okay, Lord. You’ve got it. No matter what!”
Man, you shoulda heard THAT neck pop!
“No Matter What? We’ll see about that.”
I suddenly felt a peace that I’ll never get you to understand--until we move to Heaven. Luckily, the second you get there you will understand it, and I won’t have to try.
We spent a lot of time talking there by The Chasm. At one point, Dad asked me to tell Him what I thought my perfect life would be like.
I’m a visual person. Like SMs says, “If you want me to understand what you are saying, draw me a picture!”
So, that’s what I did. In that place I drew Dad a picture of what I thought my perfect life would look like. I remembered to include the White bucket seats for the red convertible. I remembered all the commas at the bottom of the bank statement. I drew myself as a very old man, in a tux holding a Conductor’s baton. Man, I got it all! Nothing was left out! I was really proud of that picture. I mean, if it was good, and I wanted it—into the picture it went. This was my one shot, and I was gonna take it! I didn’t miss a thing! I got the house, and the beach, and the little funky drinks with the Umbrellas—the whole shebang!
Dad had told me that, when I was sure I got everything I wanted for my perfect life in the drawing, to pass it on up to Him to look at. He would see what He could do for me.
I was thinking that this was some pretty cool stuff! Ten, twenty times I checked out this picture on this huge canvas. It was COVERED, I tell ya!
So, I’m all ready to be passin’ MY picture up to Dad. Mail order just doesn’t work any better, friend.
I told Dad I had included it all. He inquired, several times, if I was certain that every wish in my perfect life was in the picture. I assured Him that it was. (I should’ve known, right?)
So I’m passed the picture up to Dad. I can clearly see His hand reaching down to grasp the picture, even today.
"Are you sure this is the way you want your life to be?” I froze in my tracks, literally!
I didn’t much care for His tone. Yeah, He’s God and all, but that didn’t sound too friendly.
“Is there something I missed?” I mean, He’s God, right? My Dad knows my heart before I do. He would know if there was something I missed, right?
The reason I was at The Chasm is the very same reason that you are, or will be there friend. God has been about His business for a very long time. God has been alive, working even since before there was time. Somewhere along the way, God uses His position as Creator of the Universe to exercise His initiative, concerning you. It’s all about Him. It’s His game, His ball, and His rules. It is also His plan. Somewhere in His plan, you are. When, in His time, He sees the opportunity, He will invite you to come to where He is working.
That is usually when you will find yourself at The Chasm. It can happen a lot more than one time, believe me.
God takes the initiative. He desires relationship with His kids. He invites us to that moment and to that place where He is working—where we can help. It is really important to understand this part. This is the only way to get it right.
God has a plan. His plan includes us. God’s plan is not to approve OUR plan. God’s plan is for us to help Him with His Plan! How many people have you known, or have you heard talking about what they have prayed for, to God? It could be something material, like a car (including specific details like engine size, color, and interior components). It could be a job (“I’ll dedicate this job that I really want to you, Dad!”). It could be a spouse, a mate, or a life partner. We bring our stuff to God. We ask Him to stop what He is doing to put His seal of approval all over our plan.
No wonder it so very seldom happens. We go about our lives, creating our picture of what perfect is. Then, we go hunting for God to get His stamp on it, and call it Faith. Things are not like that at The Chasm, friend.
When Dad desires to get our attention, things happen at a certain time, in a certain way, for a very particular reason. As I would very soon find out, God doesn’t much feel like changing His Plan to suit me.
Even while I debated which color (Kelly, or Hunter?) green to color the money in my “perfect” picture, Dad was quietly waiting.
May I ask you a question?
Do you really believe that God does not know the innermost desires of your heart? Do you really believe that Dad asked me to paint him a picture of my perfect world because He needed to see it?
I would challenge you to draw your picture. Use whatever sized canvas you think you need. Use every color you can. Get it precisely right. Put everything in it that would make your world perfect. Create it as if you know Dad will supply you with all the parts of your perfect life that you create in that picture. Don’t slow down until you spend enough time with your picture to KNOW that it is complete.
Don’t read on in this little series until you have the picture ready to deliver to Dad. Create it knowing that Dad will surely look at your picture. Here’s your chance to win the Lottery! Make your picture the perfect representation of how you want your life to be. Bring it with you the next time you pass by this way.
I will probably be here. If not, I will leave you a message under the stone. It’s been really nice talking with you today, friend. I hope to see you really soon. I cannot wait to see the results of your handiwork. Bring your picture with you next time, and we can talk about it. We can hand it, together, up to Dad and see what He thinks of it. Okay?
In the meantime, may you be richly blessed, indeed!
In His Care,