Good advice. I took it and in my weariness and impatience made it into a magic formula. I decided that if I could just figure out what this lesson was, then God would release me from the stranglehold of this stupid illness. Ah, the folly of my little human logic. I was treating God as though He were playing a cosmic game of "Uncle" with me. But it makes for an interesting story, so I'll tell you about the night I wrestled with God.
I have this great friend and every time one of us mentions wrestling with God the other inevitably asks, "How's your hip?" If the joke is lost on you, go here and you'll catch up in about 10 seconds. Anyway, this one's for you, Ross.
I went outside one night to sit and await/demand God's answer under the quiet of the stars.
"Hey, God, I'm out here. Would You come meet me and tell me what I'm supposed to be learning in all this, please?"
"Okay, listen up, God. I don't care about my dumb hip. I am wrestling You and I am not letting You go until You bless me and give me an answer for why all of this is happening!"
"It's getting kind of cold out here, but I'm still wrestling You."
"Okay, look, I'm cold. I'm going inside. You're the omniscient and omnipresent one here. You can come find me."
A few minutes later I'm brushing my teeth (obviously still wrestling God with near Jacob-like intensity...I mean he lasted all night, I didn't even make it 10 minutes in the pee-wee division B-squad) and I started a mental dialogue: I don't get it. I mean God wouldn't let me go through this without giving an explanation, would He? No, He couldn't poss..i...b....l.....y......
"Job." That's what God spoke. One single word and it was the name of the man who got one heck of a rough deal, (makes anything I've ever gone through look like a hangnail) and received no explanation from God.
"Crap," was my first response. My second was to read Job 38-42. Reading with my face on the floor and crying sounds impossible, but somehow I managed. The water damaged pages in my Bible after the fact are proof. Those chapters have always been some of my favorites for the grandeur and power with which they describe God. That night they pierced my heart and humbled me. I realized in a fresh way just how holy God is and how sinful and separated from Him I am apart from Christ.
It's funny how much peace I got from not getting an answer. I realized that I needed an attitude adjustment. It doesn't matter if I ever get an answer. My job is to acknowledge and worship God for who He is. Period. Maybe that sounds crazy, but there is a lot of peace in that.
The next morning I went outside again, hoping that God would throw me a bone for learning that big lesson the night before and maybe, just maybe give me that answer I wanted anyway. (Some habits die hard.) I even went so far as to read Job 38-42 again. They hit me in the normal way, no profound moment there. And then I heard the following,
"Emily, come and take a walk with Me."
"Okay! Hey, do You want to take me really far, or can I go barefoot?"
"Whatever you want."
Barefoot it was. I started walking, wondering if God would tell me something profound. (At this point I was still fairly sick, so going on a walk like this was really quite a treat). About a half mile from the house is a long dirt road and it felt great under my feet. As I started down it, He gave me the most incredible invitation.
"Want to open 'er up and see what she can do?"
I just smiled, started running and let the wind hit my face in that familiar way. It was one of the most wonderful things I've felt in a long time. (p.s.-I was still in my pajamas and not giving a rip)
So, while I don't know what God is doing, I know that He loves me. I know that He doesn't owe me an explanation.
"Who is this that darkens My counsel with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man: I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell Me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions?
Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone---while the morning stars sang together and the angels shouted for joy?"
"Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you , 'Here we are'?"