This blog post is written based off a sermon preached by Pastor Ben Rudolph at LIFE Fellowship in Cornelius, NC. The corresponding sermon can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ5AyMxh6l4&list=PLuTY14xw2pVYK-tL0pbAXhmqfUqwFqcRf&index=7
As Pastor Ben spoke of the larger kingdom of the world on Sunday, it can be narrowed down in that we also have smaller, more cherished personal kingdoms built from bricks of dreams, hard work, and experiences. I remember as a young girl, I wanted to grow up to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. However, as I got older and realized the reality of the time and energy requirements of med school for becoming that type of surgeon, I adjusted my career goal to be a flight nurse on life flight trauma missions. It perfectly combined my love of medicine and yearning to help others.
Growing up with a chronic illness, I spent time here and there in the children’s hospital, and the cystic fibrosis unit was right under the hospital’s life flight helipad. I loved when the helicopter came in…as it reminded me of deep-rooted desire to be a nurse on the helicopter, and nothing could stop me from achieving it. I even made fast friends with flight nurses at the children’s hospital, and they took me to the helipad one evening when I was hospitalized inpatient for CF complications. My dream felt so realistically attainable on that cold, snowy night as I stood on the roof of that hospital. Fast forward to college where I studied a major in medical support with a double minor in biology and psychology. Yet, during college, my health took a turn for the worst, and I struggled to keep up with my studies as I was exhausted, sick, and spent more time in the hospital than the classroom. This was not how it was supposed to be; I was supposed to care for patients, not be the patient! I fought even harder to graduate and pursue next steps with my flight nurse career, but it seemed the more I fought, the more I failed. One step forward, three steps back. By the time graduation rolled around, I had a diploma, but no dream. My career goal was crushed as it was now physically impossible to ever become a flight nurse, with no realistic regaining of my health in the future. Initially, I had a heavy mix of bitterness and sorrow as I wondered why I had poured so many years of my life into efforts towards my career aspirations and why I had such a burning passion for this dream only to have it dashed to bits. Many loved ones offered the words, “God knows best. He will use this for good.” I just didn’t understand how the dark journey I now traveled blindly could be used for good, and frankly even questioned the sovereignty of God at times.
Nevertheless, by God’s grace, my trust in Him wavered, but didn’t crumble, and as I began to seek His will for my crumbled kingdom, He began to turn my bitterness and sorrow turned into a prayer for my crushed dreams and serious health issues to be used for His good. My health has continued to spiral downward, yet I am seeing the combination of my medical studies and health challenges mesh together as I have been able to use my time as a patient to help people I know navigate their own health crises, and see the hospital as a bleak mission field where I can share the brilliant hope of Christ with the healthcare staff and patients.
I still have stabs of sorrow from time to time as my current life is far from how I imagined it as a 27-year-old, but seeing my brokenness used for beauty for the King’s purposes soothes these pains over time. There is freedom in submissively kissing the Son so that His will may be done. His power and authority are not to be feared but loved as He truly knows best and will use us to help build His kingdom that will stand.
We are all driven by some kind of goal, dream, or plan for our life, and while it is of value to make plans and be a go-getter, don’t set them in concrete and stubbornly fold your arms at the will of the Lord when your life flips aside down and dashes dreams in the process. When you encounter troubles and broken dreams, echo the royal Psalms of honor and blessing to the King and call to the Lord for wisdom, as you walk in the shadow of the Almighty and traverse the waters of both a broken world and tumultuous life.
In Hebrews, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, and so it is the same with His kingdom against any personal kingdoms or the world’s kingdom. There is great comfort and trust to be found in that promise! Through submission to the Lord, there is freedom from angst over the state of your personal life as you walk with the King in the protective shadow of His will. Will you let your kingdom and angst control your life, or will you submit to God’s plan for the good of mankind even if you do not understand it? Submissively kiss the Son, and let His will be done in your personal kingdom.
“All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” ~ Psalm 138:4-8