Monday, July 03, 2006

Tired, Weak, and Out of Control

Disappointment with God by Philip YanceyI haven't mentioned it here before but, since about 1981, I've had chronic headaches. Starting in 1988, about every 18 months, I would have a headache so severe I had to go to the emergency room. In the past 4 years they've gotten increasingly worse. I now have a headache like that about twice a month. The doctor tells me it gets worse with age. I am in pain about 95% of the time.

I find this topic incredibly difficult to talk about. My personality doesn't allow it. I am first-born and a classic A-type. Success, to me, is never failing. Never. Failing, for me, is:

  • never being tired (I finish ALL projects I am committed to on time),
  • never being weak (I am never sick and I am strong enough to do any job ALL by myself), and
  • never being out of control (I manage ALL situations to ensure my success).

Any wonder I have chronic headaches?

It's hard to take responsibility for the headaches. Naturally, I consider them a failure. In an effort not to fail, I failed.

Emotionally and spiritually I'm making progress, if not physically. I'm doing the mental reconditioning that I'm accepted as I am. The disappointing thing is that the damage is done. Twenty-five years of abuse are living in the nerves, muscles and bones of my neck, shoulders and chest.

Through all of this, I have questioned everything. Why doesn't God answer my prayers? What am I doing wrong? What does God want from me? What purpose does this serve? How can I serve God when I can't get out of bed?

Recently my pastor mentioned that similar questions were addressed in a book by Philip Yancey called Disappointment in God. I couldn't wait to get the book.

I've been angry, hopeless and disappointed in God. This book has done a lot to get me talking to Him again. I learned that God only wants two things: He wants us to trust Him (faith) and to choose (love) Him. This may seem like a pat answer but Yancey gave me a new perspective.

"For Job, the battleground of faith involved lost possessions, lost family members, lost health. … But the more important battle, as shown in Job, takes place inside us. Will we trust God? Job teaches that at the moment when faith is hardest and least likely, then faith is most needed." - Disappointment in God, Philip Yancey

I'm disappointed in myself for not standing by God when I was unsure why things were happening the way the were. I feel like a spoiled child or demanding lover who hasn't gotten her way. Our relationship is for better or for worse.

I don't know what's going on in God's world, the spirit world, so I have to trust that He's doing what is best for me. I don't see what battles are raging in the heavens over my prayers. I don't hear the groans that are made for my case. I don't feel the turmoil and intensity that rages in the universe... for me.

I can't tell you why it is that God doesn't heal me. I don't know and I've got to stop trying to answer that question. I need to have faith in what I do know. I know that God is extremely emotional over me. I know that God's desire is to wipe away all tears but that won't happen on this earth. I know my prayers reach God. I know, like a parent over a suffering child, God aches over every minute I'm in pain.

"But what if I create a universe that is free, free even of me? What if I veil My Divinity so that the creatures are free to pursue their individual lives without being overwhelmed by My overpowering Presence? Will the creatures love Me? Can I be loved by creatures whom I have not programmed to adore me forever? Can love arise out of freedom? My angels love me unceasingly, but they can see Me at all times." - The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, William I. Thompson

Love is precarious. I've always said that given the right circumstances, any two people can fall in love. Love wanes and cannot solely sustain a relationship. What does? Choice. Everyday I may not love my spouse but everyday I choose him. It's conscious and calculated. Everyday I want to choose God. When God and I stand before naysayers and critics I want to choose Him. When I face "for worse" I want to choose Him.


Cathryn said...

Pain is a difficult one sometimes the words we read don't get through to our hearts, where we live. I agree with you that the ultimate healing and our wholeness awaits us at our Home, further up and further in.

A similar book I'm reading is Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb. I live in FL and I am reading this 'with' a close friend in CA. We both are in our 50s and realize there are shatterings that we've experienced in different ways but especially through mothering. It is helpful so far, but hard, as I sure the disappoint book is.

Do you know Andre Seu's writings in WORLD Mag? Theyve published her essays in a small booklet...excellent; speaks to my heart.

thanks for your sharing.

rhon said...

Cathryn - Thanks for the recommendations. I just went out on WORLD mag's web site and found an archive of Seu's writings. We use to subscribe to WORLD so I appreciate the reminder of where to find good writers. How did you come across my blog?

San said...

Thank you, Rhon, for your vulnerability. Such encouraging words.