I Touched the Feet of Jesus, Well Sort Of
Come All Who Are Weary And I will Give You Rest
One day on the faith walk
My experience with the unknown was intimidating, but necessary when it involved a long, unpredictable illness. Trusting professional caregivers is essential. However, we have to be open to how God answers prayers. My faith tests with a roller coaster of a health crisis, so I was going for a second opinion at Johns Hopkins University. Some illnesses complicate life. They don't fit into the proverbial box, and because of this, my favorite Doc suggested I visit the renowned hospital, hoping to gain input on my treatment options.
The exciting thing, regardless of what the day entailed, we would make our way to the infamous statue of Jesus. I knew it as a prominent landmark at this facility. I'd heard of this exquisite piece before heading to Hopkins. My desire to touch it was almost more compelling than the visit to the specialist and, for me, more important.
As we got closer to the hospital, concern crept in. My overwhelm gave way to underwhelm; with the tattered surroundings of the neighborhood, the sparkles of the city I imagined diminished.
I knew every city has its thorns. I suppose I just imagined a place like OZ! Poverty and illness are unwanted; still, some are unlikely to escape, even when we dream them away. Sadly, the flow of patients from battled streets and around the world remains a constant through the doors of Hopkins, a place of hope.
I noticed the raw emotion I was feeling was giving way to a strange curiosity as I saw the actual battle of poverty on the outskirts of the University property. This renowned city had not gone unscathed by time and decay. Like a broken-down body, it too has suffered internal changes and a simultaneous, almost desperate attempt at revitalization. Funny how the disease of this city matched my condition!
The facility stands for research and discoveries; thus, we may expect healing possibilities to spill over into the area profoundly, making it a city of hope! Disappointment attempts to capture me as we get sucked into the fears of an inner-city. We lock the doors as the neighborhood reflects a lack of safety, with a haphazard presence of guns and drug activity. Children are alone, and elderly couples sit amongst the ruins of what was once their haven.
We should have expected the scene before us. Still, a sadness arises with the reality that our America, the America we love that stands for freedom and possibilities, is in pain and trying to survive. I suppose it was a dream to expect an incredible image of hope without crisis, possibly because of my state of mind and the need for something beautiful with my life out of control.
Tears swell with the feelings of loss and lack of security afforded our inner cities that suffer this breakdown. We break inside for lost children on the streets and the adults falling victim to circumstances. We close our eyes and say a prayer for their future, holding to hope for them and ourselves.
Taking in the grounds
We take in the images, block by block. As we get closer, the GPS states, "in 500 yards, turn right," and there it is, John Hopkins Hospital, a city within a city. Settled in among the brokenness, a place of hope emerges. There is a beautiful series of buildings. It no longer represents buildings in the town but rather a time, past and present. The older buildings appear to be from the old days, with arches and domes pulled together by decorative cement; bricks and mortar; many buildings have a Cross on top. The surrounding path of the older part of the facility has a vintage feel; closing your eyes, you can almost imagine the past. The women wore corset dresses in coiffed hairdos, fashionable hats, and twirling parasols, perhaps even pushing antique baby carriages.
Today, bright colors in windows mark a new Children's Hospital opening in the spring. Crisp lines of contemporary construction with more glass windows to bring in some nature and brightness.
Both old and new structures do their best to emit light into the interior walls and create a feeling of peace in a chaotic but smooth-running system. Before making our way to the buildings, we see a series of parking garages welcoming people in at a hefty rate. I guess they have to pay for the city within a city somehow. No matter the tattered neighborhood, the enormity is still a glorious sight for those who find their way to the Hope of Hopkins.
Entering the parking garage and then the outpatient center has a rhythmic pulse as you go through the doors that seem to capture your heart. We make our way to check-in, where you receive an orange bracelet showing your arrival for the upcoming appointment. Our stomachs urge us to get a bite to eat; as we know, the day will be intense. I am a little tired as my muscles are fatiguing with the protocol necessary for the day's tests. So we make our way to a food court area as my husband knows it's essential to get something while we can. He knows me so well, as he planned for the everyday anxieties one would have with such an event. He made sure we arrived with plenty of time to take a leisurely walk to the statue of Jesus. He gently eases me up the stairs toward the famous artwork. Though the stairs are few, each one is now tough due to significant muscle fatigue, hence the reason for our visit! However, my eagerness to see and touch this famous Jesus statue takes over.
The Beautiful Jesus Statue
At last, we are to enter the doors, located smack in the center of the campus and the oldest part of this enormous facility. As we look through the windows, we see it in the distance and know we are in the right place. My husband opens the door, and we go the final steps to the most glorious statue of Jesus.
It stands ten feet tall and wide in the circumference of His most precious body, and His arms are outstretched as if to draw you into an enormous hug you may ever have on this earth. We were in silence and awe as we searched every crease in His chiseled cement garment.
As we gaze at the statue, a frail middle-aged man and his wife walk toward it to touch the feet of the figure, the feet of our Jesus! We wanted to respect the privacy of this moment for them, so we took in the ambiance of this large Dome-shaped hall and, somewhat anxious, waited our turn. We were not speaking, and at last, we inched our way to touch the large grounded feet with the markings of Christ's crucifixion. Our hands moved in unison as we set them there, and the silence was beautiful and solemn, and I believe we prayed to Jesus at that moment, private prayer and yet together at the same time. I realize we both wished to linger there rather than head to my appointment across the street. We were on our way out of the area and noticed the sign-in book.
We hurried to place a prayer within the book to symbolize our unity of strength, faith, and hope in our future as a couple, a family, and two people walking together in the will of God. Our weaknesses and trust combined to face everything with Jesus at that moment.
Kirk Franklin ~ SMILE
God answers just give Him a minute
I admit I think I did; I smiled ~ and even chuckled through the breathing machine and oxygen mask. I finally realized God was shuffling my iPod. As soon as I wanted to give up, He sent me something to hold close to my heart. Touching that statue did more for me than anything else; it reminded me to keep steadfast faith! When it seems like there is nothing you can do, hold onto Jesus!
Who knew God could answer prayers through an iPod? But then again, He uses everything!
Hebrews 11~ Faith in Action
"1 Now, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God's command so that what is seen was not made of what was visible. 4 By faith, Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith, he was commended as righteous when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith, Abel still speaks, even though he is dead."
Isaiah 43 ~ Israel's Only Savior
"1 But now, this is what the LORD says,
He who created you, Jacob,
He who formed you, Israel:
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers,
They will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
You will not be burned;
The flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior"
"3 Not only so, but we [a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
2 Corinthians 4~Present Weakness and Resurrection Life
"1 Therefore, since through God's mercy, we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception or distort God's word. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," [a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God, not us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.13 It is written: "I believed; therefore, I have spoken." [b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and, therefore, speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.16 Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly, we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed daily. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
GLORIOUS ~Paul Baloche
© 2012 Kathy Henderson