In the Middle of the Bitter

Along the Way @

Gentle Reader,

Day 3,956 of thrush.

Okay, okay. It just feels like it’s been that long.

I’m trying to put into practice the things I’ve learned over the last year. When I feel weary physically, it’s not long before I feel weary mentally and emotionally. If I let that go on, it’s a short trip down a very dark hole. I can’t pull myself out of it. No amount of positive talk or self-love or whatever other pop psychology phrase you want to apply works. I have to turn to the Lord.

Let me tell you something: It works. Every time.

Oh, the illness doesn’t magically disappear. The sadness doesn’t evaporate forever. At this point, God has allowed the struggle. I don’t know why. I’d rather not be engaged with this. I would love a body that functions correctly. I would love to have an unclouded mind and heart. But – honestly – if it takes pain to keep me close to the Lord, then so be it.

I’m sure that sounds insane, especially if you happen to be reading this and you don’t have faith in Christ. I don’t know if I can rightly explain it. I know myself. I know how independent and self-reliant I try to be. I know how arrogant I can get. I also know that God brings the proud low. I know that He works to reveal our need for Him.

While I believe that my illnesses, physical and otherwise, are the consequences of the Curse, I also believe that God uses these things as tools to bring about a change in me. His plan is that His children grow into the likeness of Jesus (Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18). Jesus modeled a love for spending time with the Father during His ministry. He gave us a deep example of depending upon Him.

So if I’m too much of a spiritual idiot to figure out how to do this on my own (and trust me, I am)…then, by all means. Use this sickness and frustration and isolation and exhaustion for Your glory and my good, Lord God.

Again, I know that sounds insane. It might also sound like I’m some sort of falsely pious, fakey McFakerstein. But this is no platitude I mouth. This is no slick piece of propaganda, no bait-and-switch. I really don’t think I would have a growing relationship with God without this undeniable weakness.

There have been many, many moments when I’ve raised my figurative fist to the heavens and ranted at God. I’ve thrown fits and occasionally thrown things. Bad blood tests hit me like a brick wall, needles leave me bruised, finances are tight when I can’t make it to work, there’s always the “what next?” question looming on the horizon. I am not perfect and I do not have this faith thing down.

But as I learn to turn to God, there is a real sweetness in the middle of the bitter.

Keith Green says it better than I can. (Just started listening to his music today. I don’t know where this has been my whole life):

Let God do His work in you, my friend. Look for the light in the dark, the peace in the storm, the sigh in the scream.

Watch for it.

Hope for it.

Cling to Him.

My journey to faith. (15)