In the Aftermath of Despair

Jun 04

It’s hard to know where to start as I sort through the emotions of yesterday’s incredible disappointment.  My initial reaction was anguished crying, which turned to anger as I lashed out at God.  For a brief moment, I considered tossing my whole faith in the bin and becoming an atheist, but just like Peter long ago, my response to that was “Lord, to whom shall (I) go? You have the words of eternal life.  (I) believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

The problem (blessing?) of a long and sincere walk with God is that you see and understand enough to know that there really is no other way of living that makes sense.

So then, how do I move forward here?  Last night the pain was so great I didn’t think I could.  I felt betrayed by God.  I felt He had led us to believe He really would heal, the signs were there, the confirmation was there, and I had really gone out on a limb in faith.  All the right ingredients were there to see a miraculous work done – and we believed it had been done.  Not just me, but those with me, as well.  This is where the betrayal came in for me.

It’s not that I believe everyone will be healed. Experience does not allow that belief, though I do believe many more people could be healed if we exercised our faith more, but I know God does not heal everyone.  Yesterday evening my beloved pastor wisely counseled me in the midst of my grief: “When we go pray for healing we don’t get one every time.  However if we go not expecting a miracle we get one NEVER.  So we always going expecting.” and “If we believe and get nothing it is still better than not believing.  Not believing produces nothing for sure.  Every time.”

I know bad things happen to good people.  We are at war in the spiritual realm, and casualties happen.  My issue was that it seemed as if God told us He would heal, and then snatched away that hope.  A little boy will have to spend the rest of his life wearing bags.

Nicholas is not a pawn here.  There is a greater story in his relationship with God in which this operation plays a big role.  That’s between him and God, and my behaviour, successes and failures have nothing to do with that particular story.  God has simply used Nicholas’ story to speak to me.  My personal story does not affect his outcome here – that choice was already made.  For me the issue is feeling betrayed by God when I believe I acted in full obedience to His will.

Again, my long journey with God helps me to understand that if I served a God whose ways were easy to understand, He would not be Almighty, Omniscient, and All-Powerful.  He’d be a puppet that I could manoeuver according to MY will – and what a mess that would be!  God – as God – is much, much greater than I can fathom, and I am glad He is, though it is sometimes hard to live with a God that big.  An Almighty, “beyond-my-understanding” God is so much more worthy of my devotion than a giant vending machine in the sky – as nice as that idea might feel in my more selfish moments.

So, where am I today?  Still wounded, still sore, still crying, but there is a sense of hope.  I must grieve, and I am allowing myself to experience the full force of my pain, but there is now an inner peace, as I turn my heart towards the only One who can bring me through to the other side of my grief in full healing.  “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:5)

This journey is not over – not for me, not for Nicholas, not for his parents, but God promises to be with us, and to help us carry the load.  I could decide that from now on I won’t get so involved or allow my faith to carry me away into areas that will only cause grief, but a lukewarm faith that keeps me in a safe place is anathema to God, and I will not go there.  Either He is who He says He is, and I will serve Him as that with passion and commitment through whatever He sends my way, or I will turn my back completely.  I will not live with one foot in both worlds.  I will not create a safe god.  My heart will not serve such a god.

So here I am.  Still crying, but with hope.  With a small glimmer of inner peace, on the road to restoration.  I chose to live with Isaiah 43, not without the fires and floods, but with them, in the hands of God, in spite of what I do or do not understand.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Amen.

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4 comments

  1. Wow Darlene, you blow me away. Out of the midst of heartbreak God is already making beauty out of the ashes in you.

    I think I will actually send others to this blog to read your words when they too are caught in the despairs of life.

    PK

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  2. admin /

    Ah, my dear Kerry – it is because you love and model so well that I am still standing.

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  3. Susan /

    Wow, nicely said. Sometimes, I’m glad we don’t get to pick how God does things, but sadly that’s only sometimes still.
    You bring up an interesting point about the feeling of betrayal. I OFTEN feel betrayed by God, and people in positions of leadership.
    I’m beginning to think its more often how we act in that bubble of feeling that He’s sometimes more interested in than whether we feel that way or not though. (Not to say He’s not interested in how we feel though.)
    You put “For me the issue is feeling betrayed by God when I believe I acted in full obedience to His will.” Maybe the real growth opportunity (and success I’d say) was in holding on to Him and realizing the things you did?(as you went on to say in your blog)
    We can ‘do’ in obedience, and even feel we have a right heart about it, but I usually have a back pocket full of “but you better not…’insert injury here’…” and the real growth comes when I forget about the conditions. Its still very difficult to not be overwhelmed by hurt though. I have a long way to go. You’re quite a light that helps show the path. Thanks for being so faithful, and for sharing all the ups and downs. 🙂

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  4. admin /

    Thanks, Sue. I appreciate the encouragement. I was able to spend time this afternoon in praise and worship, which was great. I’m a lot steadier on my feet now.

    You bring up some interesting points as well – the whole “conditions” thing. Oh, I really see that in myself, and I’m trying so hard to erase it from my heart.

    Thanks for sharing your heart here.

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