For two weeks I’ve battled a mysterious ailment with symptoms that appeared clear cut, an easy diagnosis. But, first one medication failed and now another. I’ve been exhausted, depleted, and unable to focus. My outer self has been wasting away. I won’t bore you with the medical details.
This isn’t Eden. Why do I have to keep reminding myself?
I have work to do! I need to be up on my feet running full-tilt! The school-year ministries have begun! The manuscript should arrive any day! I want to be in control!
But I just returned from my third visit to the doctor. I expected to receive yet another medication and to be told I’d be right as rain (whatever that means) in no time. Simple. Easy. This time with the medicine working.
Instead, there was physician head scratching. Samples were gathered. Needles were involved.
“I have no idea,” she said. “We’ll figure this out.”
Really? The longer I live, the more I recognize that “figuring it out” is not always possible. This is frustrating. I like things cut and dried. I abhor weird symptoms, mysterious aches, and unknown factors. I’ve lived that before. It wasn’t pretty. My faith grew. Hmm.
Earlier in the week, the Lord comforted me. I felt he was impressing on me that there was more trial to come. In this life, that is always true. But I’m an idealist. I needed the reminder. Straightforward “more trial to come” is easier to handle than an “I have no idea” difficulty.
Therein lies the rub.
Once more, this is all about Jesus and me. Do I trust him?
Because I’m created for eternity, I long for beautiful perfection. I want to return to Eden now. Alas! It isn’t time. As usual, this experience, this unknown illness, is about faith. Again. Do we ever get detailed explanations of our approaching trials, so we can brace ourselves?
Isn’t faith all about the unknown, unseen, and eternal?
Can I embrace the fact that God will allow whatever he thinks is best, whenever he thinks it will benefit me the most, no matter how busy I am or whatever plans I have made? Do I believe he knows what will transform me to be more like Christ? Can I yield?
For me, having no control is a test of faith. I want to know the whys. If I have to be sick, I want a malady that is easily recognized and quickly treated. I want to determine when I will be struck down, so it shoehorns neatly into my schedule. I want to call the shots.
Nothing in the Christian life has anything to do with these desires.
I was bought with a price. I belong to the Lord. In all ways, no matter what, I’m to glorify God in my body—this aging, mysteriously ill body, this cracked jar of clay. Can I do this without complaining, without giving God a deadline, without knowing?
As always, Jesus is the only one whose opinion matters. He says, “Trust me.”
He numbers my days. He keeps my tears in his bottle. He renews me moment by moment, day by day. He is the sovereign Lord of the universe. Once more, it’s time for me to let go—yielding the unknown to him, entrusting myself entirely into his hands, releasing any timetable I had in my mind. And, thanking him for all of this, regardless of what happens. Yes, thanking him.
This seems to be the recurrent lesson.
How is the Lord growing your faith?
Need encouragement in the trial? Click here for a podcast by Desiring God: “Do Not Lose Heart”
Photos licensed by Creative Commons. Featured image: By Aaron Burden, Sweet Hour of Prayer, creationswap.com