The past week has been a journey through all the feels.
I started my Monday with the best of intentions.
Then, somewhere around minutes 14, 18 and 25 of 30, the conversation in my head went something like this.
Me: “I feel queasy.”
Also me: “Shake it off, girl. It’s just an empty stomach thing. You’ve got this!”
Again, me…3 hours later: “What ‘I’ve got’ is stomach flu.”
Stellar start to the week.
Then, in the midst of flu-oolishness, (that’s the foolishness of the flu) there were some health scares with people I love dearly. The kind of scares that sent me briefly into a panic before I can remind myself that I have a God to turn to in those moments.
And while I’d like to blame that panic on not feeling well physically (which may have exacerbated it), the truth is I can feel completely fine physically and be presented with the exact same situation and have the exact same response.
In the interest of full disclosure, when confronted with instances like those of the past week, I spend a lot of time vacillating between the two states of utter dependent trust in God and utter meltdown-panic. Sometimes, it’s the ‘you-can’t-say-those-words-in-church’ kind of panic. The kind that has me feeling worried and in doubt (told you, full disclosure).
But this week, mixed in between were beautiful updates about the illnesses of two other precious souls who I, along with a couple of armies, have been praying for like crazy. Both in very different stages of life. One, mere days old. The other, well, let’s just say they’ve been with us for a bit.
Both with one very important thing in common: their dire need of a miracle.
It has been a privilege to watch how God has worked in the lives of these two; laughing in the face of odds and physical circumstances and bringing both further than many dared to hope they would come.
It has been a sweet reminder of His handiwork.
A visual aide to my faith.
But then, those other health scares? They arrive on the scene and just as fast as I’m praising God for what He has done I’m freaking out over what might be happening to my loved ones. Asking why. Wondering what will happen. In one breath I’m certain God will work it out and in the next I’m remembering the times He hasn’t (at least not the way we all prayed He would), and re-experiencing the piercing sorrow of losses gone by.
Sound familiar, or is just me?
What is the deal with this fickle faith of mine?
Granted, it’s not always this way. But oh! The times it is, are more often than I care to admit. And you know what?
I’m not ok with that.
The fact is I will admit those times to God Himself.
Talk to Him about it. ‘Confess it’. All of that.
But the places where I don’t admit it? The places where I feel like I shouldn’t admit it are ironically the places where God is discussed and celebrated the most.
And I'm faced with the fact that we need to do a better job of making wrestling with our faith a safe subject.
Maybe we don’t because often our wrestling is motivated by our emotions. We forget that our emotions aren’t meant to be ignored. They are in fact a gift from God.
A reminder that we are created in His image.
We see examples all over the Scriptures of emotions from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
(•Anger: Ps 7:11; Mark 3:5; Ro 1:18 •Laughter: Ps 37:13; Ps 2:4 •Compassion: Ps 135:14; Luke 7:13; 1 Jn 1:9 •Grief: Genesis 6:6; John 11:36; Eph 4:30 •Love: 1 John 4:8; Mark 10:21; Jn 3:16
•Hate: Pro 6:16; Ps 5:5; Ps 11:5 •Jealousy: Ex 20:5; Ex 34:14; Joshua 24:19 •Joy: Zeph 3:17; Isaiah 62:5; Luke 10:21; to name a few.)
So, as it is with most things, if we want to make a change, we should probably start in the one place we have the most influence and control. Our own lives.
So, consider this my invitation to welcome your wrestling, alongside mine. I’m confident God isn’t shaken or thrown by our confusion or questioning.
He will never respond with “Woah, I didn’t see that coming!” He will never say “if you continue to be human, I can’t love you.” He knows it all anyway. The wrestling is to make us stronger. Not Him.
And none of it can take us from His hand.
Besides, I don't think wrestling is the absence of faith in God.
Why would you wrestle with someone you don’t believe in?
Oh, before I forget. Those health scares from earlier this week?
God answered our prayers once again and all is well.
Once again I’m left sheepishly swaying to and fro with my hands behind my back, apologizing to God for my concerns that He wouldn’t come through this time. And you know what?
He loves me just as much as He did before it all happened.
Nothing has changed.
Well, nothing has changed for Him.
Thank goodness only one of us in this relationship is fickle.
The following is a short list of some favorite verses that help me in times of wrestling. I hope they help you too. Please feel free to share what helps you too.
(John 10:28-29; Mark 9:24; Hebrews 11:6; Romans 8:38-39)