May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Between Christmas and the wedding, I had a touch of the flu. Not the nasty stomach flu that we all think of, but this year’s current batch of flu germs that are upper respiratory in nature. Headache, runny nose, infected sinuses. Enough to make me worry about being sick for the wedding, but not enough to put me down because I had gotten a flu shot last fall. I called our dear doctor who we think of as a friend and he called me in a couple of prescriptions to relieve my symptoms and by wedding day, I felt good enough to enjoy the ceremony and reception. Fortunately, I had a couple of days off work after the wedding to rest and recover so once I returned to work, I didn’t think much of it. Early this week, I noticed that my hearing had dimmed in one ear. Everything sounded like it was muffled and I heard alternately wave noises and siren sounds in my head. I called the doctor who thought it might be remnants of the sinus infection in my ear so gave me something to spray in my nose and force into my ear canal. But, gradually, it has gotten worse and now, when people talk, their voices echo in my ears. The left ear hears their words first and then, the right ear. Desperate, I let oldest son and a coworker talk me into trying ear candling. I bought these paper and beeswax candle shaped tubes that you light on fire and stick on end in your ear so the heat vacuums the wax or residue in your ear canal into the tube. As I lay on my bed, on my side with a flaming tube sticking out of my ear, I marveled that I had agreed to do such a thing. The flame was not small like a candle, but bright and large like a roman candle. I kept wondering what would happen if I dropped it in my hair or worse, it jumped from the paper holder it was lodged in onto the bed. The fact that oldest son said it would take a half hour to burn out almost made me stop mid way, but I persisted hoping I would get some ear relief. No calamity occurred other than getting ashes on the bedspread when I foolishly blew it out when it neared its end, and I was surprised to feel that my head felt lighter as though a great weight had been drawn from it. In fact, upon inspection of the tube about a teaspoon of nasty brown wax had been removed from my ear. The process worked to clean my ear, but the muffling and noise persist anyway. I will have to go to the doctor tomorrow. What gave me the hope to try such an unlikely strange appearing remedy? Testimony of my son and friend as well as the salesperson at the health food store propelled me to take a chance. I am still reading The Circle Maker and just finished a chapter about praying “big” prayers that only God can fulfill. Mark Batterson asks, “How big is your God?” and urges us to understand that God is bigger than any problem or any dream we have. He adds that Faith is “daring to go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.” It has been a long time since I dreamed such a dream. But, I have some desires long suppressed that are rising to the surface. Like wax drawn to the heat of the flame, I feel hope soaring in my soul and am willing to try something different, something unusual, trusting that God can do what He says He can do.