Saturday, December 7, 2013
Over the course of this blog, I have encountered more than one crisis of faith. I have made no secret of those spaces in time when my faith o meter is dipping into the red alert zone. To be fair to myself, I feel justified in my doubts and questions, as we lost a child through a failed adoption and then lost Dave to a sudden heart attack. It seems like every time I would feel the presence of God in such a sure way, it would only be a matter of weeks or days before the doubts and questions would ensue.
This past school year, I have attended Bible Study each Tuesday morning. It is a win win in every way. It was a great social hour as a lot of my friends attend, the older ladies bring some seriously delicious breakfast treats, there is free child care, (which will get any overwhelmed mom to show up each week) and I, also, look forward to picking up a few more tips about God each week. The rotation of speakers includes quite a few of my close, dynamic and engaging friends, who never disappoint. However, one particular Tuesday, none of my friends were speaking. A lady who is the same (young) age as my mom, took her place on stage. She wears a smile like a fixed broach. Her hair is quaff and her make-up is tidy, always. Her emotions and body seem to be in check 100% of the time. While I think she is the sweetest lady ever, I actually had the word, "SNOOZER," running through my head, as she stepped behind the podium. And then the unexpected happened. She started speaking. Her words, while evenly and softly spoken, were thundering my head. I was voraciously writing notes as conviction was laid upon my frame. Here was this slight, mature lady, speaking about spiritual warfare in such a ginger tone, yet with such force and strength behind it. I basically walked away, feeling that I was being held back by a serious stronghold of doubt in my life. In life, I just kept coming back to, "I'm not so sure this is all real." "I'm not so sure that God is really THAT powerful or THAT loving." I realized that I was in a place where I could have faith that the Bible is true or have faith that the Bible wasn't true, but that as long as I kept wandering between the two, I was not ever going to live in His freedom or live in His perfect love. I chose the Bible that day. I chose HOPE.
Needless to say, I think I would be tumbling in another crisis of faith, had that one Tuesday morning not occurred. Difficult circumstances have a way of pulling you back down to flesh, to disappointment, to frustration, to hopelessness.
At the end of the summer, I went on an amazing church retreat. The Holy Spirit was fresh and palpable on that weekend. Throughout the weekend, I felt like God was asking me to trust Him to be my provider. That, as well as feeling like I wasn't ready to date, is what prompted me to end the semi-dating relationship that was just starting. I didn't feel like I could really see if I trusted that God would provide for me, while there was a sweet boy who could provide for much of what I needed. To me, this felt like a big act of obedience and what I thought that it would equate to, was big blessings in my life. I wouldn't have said that out loud, but I'm sure, underneath it all, I thought that God was going to bless me big time with this big act of faithfulness. (I know it's not that big, but it felt like it at the time). Unfortunately, my big blessing has come in the form of a bulging disc in my back. If you have ever had one of those, you know that they don't tickle!
I can't tell you the frustration with God that I have had over this. This is one of those times that if Dave were still here I would think, how would any single parent take care of three kids, with a back injury like this. I felt so unfairly treated. I felt like I am being so faithful and God is not! (Insert lightning strike). In fact, I was slated to speak at Bible Study, in front of a hundred ladies, last Tuesday on this very question; "How has God been faithful to you?" Two days before my "God is so faithful" speech, I was hiding under my covers crying and questioning that very thing and thinking, "I have to cancel. I don't believe he is faithful to me right now. I don't see it, I don't feel it, I am just so mad, mad, mad. This is not how it is supposed to go!"
Sunday night, I continued to wrestle with the unfairness of this all and I couldn't sleep as I tried to figure out how I am going to do this life. As the 1:00 am hour struck, I decided to listen to a sermon, because if they make me sleepy on Sunday mornings, maybe it will do the same on Sunday nights? I typed in Tim Keller and clicked on a sermon. The podcast started with this quote:
That soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no, never, no never, forsake.
My attention was caught. Then, instead of a sermon, a few people just read Psalm 4, then Psalm 27, then Isaiah 61. The living, breathing, Word of God, calmed everything crazy inside of me. I proceeded to fall asleep before the sermon even started. I desperately wish that my calm had come from a supernatural healing of my back, but he gave me my manna. He gave me enough so that I didn't have to disintegrate into pieces. He gave me enough to wake up with a different attitude. I can walk, I can sit, I can sleep, so for that I am thankful. Just don't ask me to put my shoes on, or pick up anything off the floor and please don't ask to see the vegetation growing on my legs, because these legs haven't seen a razor in quite some time. This year has come with such day to day dependence on God. I want to save it up, but I seem to only have enough for each day and then I have to decide again, to trust Him and to have hope for something better.
So, here I am . . . waiting for the Lord, as it says in Psalm 27:13-14. "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."