At 2:00 a.m., I wake in pain. Terror compresses my chest. The shadow of death feels near. Chronic illness does this. Something is wrong at the cellular level, and my subconscious knows this.
Peering at my iPhone, I distract myself, avoiding the One with whom I need to converse. Finally, I give up.
The only way to make sense of my emotional turmoil is to rise from bed and write. This is how a writer wrestles with God. Jacob wrestled on the way home. Jesus wrestled on the way to the cross. Alongside these, my wrestling feels trivial, my concerns small. So I sit at my laptop in silence.
I want to hurl my Job-like questions at God, but my faith is too small. So I hesitate, for it seems a waste of energy. Afterward I will feel ridiculous, contrite, and awash with His goodness. Besides, I know He knows exactly how I feel. Why bother?
While I dodge Him, at the Father’s right hand Jesus intercedes for me and my messy humanity, even my reticence. At last, I recognize I’m angry at Him, uneasy, annoyed, and frustrated, similar to a marital spat. I avoid facing these emotions, and thus, God Himself.
But this is a relationship. Jesus wants me to pour out my heart to Him. Faith requires this more thorough comprehension of the dimensions of His love. He wants all my nastiness laid bare before Him. With tears, I plunge in.
The sunshine is making me sick. I’m angry at You about this. Why is this happening to me now? Now! When I wanted to do so much for You?
My words drip with self-pity.
Sunshine is normally a cause for rejoicing in northern climes, but my autoimmune disease has changed all that. Even though slathered with sunscreen, hatted with a ridiculous floppy monstrosity, sporting wrap-around sunglasses, and swathed in long sleeves and long pants, the sun still makes me sick.
I must sit in my backyard shoved under a barely leafing bush, far back in the shadows, so I can be outside, yet not absorb the sun’s rays. In the house, I keep the shades slanted, so it’s shadowy. I never look toward the light. It makes my eyes useless.
On an emotional level, I don’t understand why God has allowed this. Theologically, I believe God orchestrates all things for my good. Realistically, I understand that I’m not omniscient, neither do I know what is truly best for my character. Therefore, it’s a blessing that I’m not in charge of this illness.
Can I yield? I must. I always do, because I believe.
As I resist, Jesus, the One who sympathizes with my weaknesses, gently tugs me near, whispering reminders of His love, reassuring me that He welcomes me homeward, even as I strive to run away. The Lover of my soul is irresistible. He woos me with assurances of His good intentions.
Though He created this world, He came as one of us, yet one of a kind, unique, sinless, spotless, the omniscient God in a human body. He came to be uncomfortable, to take on our human disease. He came to suffer. He came to die. This is how He knows us so well. This was His mission. We are particularly mindful of this today.
No one understood Him, therefore He understands us. He always does. I can’t resist Him. And so, I yield to His wooing. He has gone before me.
Faith means acting upon the theological truths I believe. Because I believe, I now choose to thank Him for this odd disease that He has allowed to drain my energy, to steal my comfort, and to hinder my ability to see and concentrate.
Even though I don’t understand, I will yield. I will continue to ask Him to take it away, but I will yield, daily if necessary. There is nothing more I can do. It is out of my hands. Because I believe, I will trust Him. Godly character is birthed through trial. Having a chronic illness hammers this lesson home daily.
Not my will, but Thine be done.
Do you also wrestle with God?
Check this out: Quotes from Spurgeon for Wounded Christians.
And this: How to Pray When Life Falls Apart