The beast, a wretched foe, goes for the throat, seeking to strangle its victim. Last Monday it crept into my bedroom, pounced on me, fastened its claws on my throat, and we began a five hour murderous battle. Visions of Beowulf and Grendel’s gladiatorial wrestling match occupied my mind. I denied it victory several times. Weary, I entertained the possibility of defeat. Then, as if spooked, the Mucus Monster released its grip and fled. As it left I heard the slimy murderer hiss, “I shall return.”
Mucus (phlegm) is constantly swallowed by the average person. Due to ALS my swallowing is minimal and my ability to cough and clear my throat is practically nil. So, the mucus builds and lodges in my air passage (I have dubbed this — The Mucus Monster). The effort to clear this and breathe is traumatic. It is a real battle.
During the five hour struggle my brain was still functioning well. A comforting thought kept going through my mind: “I am only gasping for air! I am only gasping for air! The important issues of life are settled.”
I reminded myself I wasn’t gasping for truth — “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
I reminded myself I wasn’t gasping for love — “This is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son [Jesus] as an atoning sacrifice.”
I reminded myself I wasn’t gasping for peace — “Peace I [Jesus] leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I reminded myself I wasn’t gasping for salvation — “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name [Jesus] under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
You see the controlling idea here? It is Jesus Christ.
Without Him, everything collapses. With Him, everything holds together.
After the Mucus Monster left, this Christmas hymn flooded into my spirit — “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.” Notice the last two lines of the first verse:
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
This “Dear desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart” is better than air in my lungs. His real birth, His real death, His real resurrection, and His real return provide answers to mankind’s questions, solutions to mankind’s problems, and joys for mankind’s longings.
I can’t fathom a more treasured thought to grasp this Christmas. While there is air in our lungs, let us hold onto Him who is better than air.
Merry Christmas ‘til my last breath, John
6 thoughts on “The Mucus Monster”
Oh John, thank you for this. I am in the midst of my own struggle, for every step literally that I take. But your example is an encouragement to me to always look up, outside my body and to Him, the true “joy of my loving heart.”
I have hereditary spastic Paraplegia, basically my nerves in my legs are degenerating causing spasticity of my muscles, eventually leading to paralysis. But my neurologist has instructed me to exercise and do balance training in order to be as mobile as possible for as long as possible. So when I go to the YMCA, I go to the back room and practice my walking, lifting my legs exagerratedly high with each step. While I walk I recite out loud the book of James (I am only up to the middle of chapter 3). And while I am walking around, slowly, struggling to keep from stumbling, I pray for every person that I know who has struggles, and quite a few more, and my loved ones also. Believe me John, you are on my lips oftentimes, because He is able even more as I am increasingly disabled, and that thought gives me blessed peace. I always repost your words, praying that someone who does not have our hope will come to know Him. Thank you so much.
You are a wonderful testimony to so many! Thank you for this!! Prayers for you. What a true example of a Christian. Merry Christmas!!
Dearest John, What a wonderful man God made when He made you. Thank you for your never-failing encouragement to the saints and words of hope to those who walk in darkness, searching for the light. It is a great comfort to those who love you to know the greatest enemy has no power over you and that as you all walk through the valley of the shadow of death the Light of the World walks with you and holds you and gives you every breath. How precious you are to Him and to us. We love you!
We are praying for you! Thank you so much for sharing your journey and reminding of the reality of eternity. You have such a gift of communicating and bringing light to the dark places.
Dear John, our beloved Knight! We love you and appreciate you sooo very much. Thank you for continuing to share your journey and your heart. You are such a gifted communicator. Your transparency and authenticity points us to the cross is a reminder of the reality of the freedom we have in Christ! Praying for you as you continue to fight the battle and bring light to the dark places. Love you with the Jesus Love, The Cobbs
John, You have no idea how much I needed this right now. Thank you. Much love to you always.❤️