Still in the Cross I Shall Hope.

About two weeks ago, I had another episode of a catheter blockage and experienced severe autonomic dysreflexia, which is a symptom that occurs often to people who have spinal cord injury in particular situations: “It makes your blood pressure dangerously high and, coupled with very low heartbeats, can lead to a stroke, seizure, or cardiac arrest.” Last year, I had six episodes of the catheter blockages because of bladder stones. For more about this symptom, check it out.

When the blockage occurred, my friend took me to the Kaiser urgent care at Lone Tree. My blood pressure was 230; my temperature was 103; my whole body was in excruciating pain. I was in an emergency situation. Even though my urologist was in the medical building, I was transferred to the ER at Skyridge Hospital because no urgent care doctor or registered nurse was able to change the catheter. The long dramatic story short, a Kaiser doctor came and took care of the problem in less than three minutes. Unfortunately, I had to suffer with the high blood pressure, pounding headache, and body pain for three hours.

However, God gave me strength to endure the awful suffering during the three hours of pain and preserved me from having any stroke or heart attack thankfully. Simultaneously, I was grateful that my friend and mother were with me holding my hands and praying for me. They did not know how to alleviate the high blood pressure and physical pain and what to say to comfort my discouraged and broken spirit. However, their presence was enough for me to endure the challenging time.

Still, I lamented, ‘How long, Lord, how long do I need to go through this hardship? How long do I need to live with this anxiety and fear of trauma?’ I could not hear the answer right away. Maybe, even though I knew the answer, I did not want the answer to console me, because maybe I wanted something else, maybe a real solution to the problem. Without resolving the issue, I moved on with my life. About two weeks later, when I decided to write this reflection, I tried to find the answer again and found it in the psalm of David:

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,’ lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (Ps. 13).

I confessed, ‘Lord, you still love me with the steadfast, unfailing, and hesed love, have demonstrated it through your suffering and death on the cross, have saved me from the slavery of sins, and have dealt bountifully with me. They are sufficient enough to change my mourning into joy, my weakness into strength, and my anxiety into confidence.’ There is no burden that cannot be laid under the cross, no burden greater than the cross, no burden that cannot be victorious in the cross. Thus, again and again, I still hope in the cross.

J.D. Kim