Yesterday, after a stretch of intensified pain and discomfort, I reached my umpteenth pinnacle of frustration. As my husband was on his way out the door after dinner I lamented through tears, “I don’t think God likes me very much.” Now, I know the foolishness inherent in that statement, but pain and frustration are like drugs–both numbing and truth inducing, drawing to the surface realities we’d rather keep hidden, like infections we don’t want to dig out but would prefer to cover and let fester because somehow in the moment that seems to be the better option.
My husband left and I broke. Before the door shut behind him he had me uncross my arms and before I could defiantly recross them he grabbed my hands and bullet prayed for God to fill me. He then said goodbye, planting a gentle kiss on my forehead. Congested from crying and barely able to taste the remainder of my dinner (consisting of three of the six foods I should safely be able to eat) I choked down my meager plate while scrolling through my phone. Nearly devoid of hope, I was frantically seeking a filling.
Then a funny thing happened.
God got all up in my way.
There I was, trying to read about another doctor, another facility, another potential diagnosis with another possible treatment plan when this popped up on my screen, blocking me from finding my answer:
You will be my witnesses
– Acts 1:8
Exasperated, I sighed…
and then I stopped.
No app I have has ever displayed a pop-up bible verse on my screen.
I should look that verse up.
I may be headstrong and obsessive and occasionally prone to panic, but thank God I know His voice, and by His grace I followed His lead.
Abandoning my search I sought More than me.
Acts 1:6-9 reads: When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
And just like that,
Each of us is a link in an unbroken chain of brokenness. We all carry emptiness, lack, insufficiency, want. Poor in spirit, mind, body, and emotion we grapple with the weight of not enough and long for the inrushing of More. Heavy, we look to lighten our loads with any temporary feel-good that helps us forget that we don’t really feel good at all. We crave more of less–that light, airy, long ago peace of falling asleep safe at night under the watchful care of strong, protective parents who chase away boogeymen, tuck us in tight, and see us off to sweet-dreams sleep-land in a wooden shoe with Wynken, Blynken and Nod.
But now, privy to the knowledge of good and evil, our innocence lost, we know too much and rest does not come easy. I confess I have tried too many vices, all of which failed me in my pursuit of peace. In an attempt to breathe I choked, and in chasing life I died. It was (and is) in this place that I found (and find) More. More than me.
My way will never be The Way.
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore me?”
“It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witness….”
My husband returned home to a restored woman. Not in the sense I was hoping for, but in the way God intended me to be: His. Surrendered to Him and His Way I am whole, I have peace, I live alive–to an infinitely greater degree than I could by simply attaining perfect health or a trouble-free life. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). I don’t pretend to have all the answers or to understand the mind of God, but I do trust Him and love Him and willingly place myself in His hands. I believe He is lighting my way through the darkest nights, pushing me through the waves of dew, and cradling me in that wooden shoe on the misty sea with those Fishermen Three.
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
– Psalm 30:5