Five Minute Friday: Good

But He was wounded for our

Gentle Reader,

Stepping into the soberness of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday with my beloved brothers and sisters of the Five Minute Friday crew. Gracious Kate provides the space. We contemplate: good.

Go.

By no means do I consider myself a poet of any real skill. Nevertheless, this week’s prompt called to mind the following words I wrote years ago:

The Death That Should Be”

The blows to

Strike me down

Knocked my Lord

Upon the crown

The insult designed

To hurt

Threw God upon

The dirt

The streets that

Ran red

Came from Him

Instead

The blackness,

A terror

Enveloped Him,

But no error

The death that

Should be – me

Rather experienced

By He

The pain, the loss,

The separation

All our inglorious

Damnation

Heaped upon

The One

Who created

Shining sun

Who calms the

Storm

Comforts

Forlorn

Struck fire on

Mt. Carmel

Every day –

A marvel

The Lord, the God,

The Master

Replacing me in

This disaster

Do I even

Really know?

What it would mean

To take such blow?

I think I have

No comprehension

Of this Heavenly

Condescension

How can it work

That I am free?

From the death

That should be me?

Stop.

Thank you, Jesus.

My journey to faith. (15)

Singin’ in the Rain

Gentle Reader,

The little church family of which I am a part is working, as a whole, on becoming better at Scripture memorization. This month’s passage is Psalm 100:

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is He who made us, and we are His
we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the LORD is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations. (NKJV)

I’ll be honest – I don’t much feel like singing joyful songs right now. I find myself doubtful of the enduring nature of His love, despite presenting a study earlier this week on faith and the trustworthiness of God’s character.

Though I have started to feel better physically, the emotional toll of being sick for the last month and a half is intense. Top that off with the death of Benson and the fact that my dog is in a lot of pain and may not be long for this world, and I’m a crabby mess. I want to scream. I want to throw things. Better yet, I’d like to cry. You know what, though? I can’t. No matter how long I sit here, the tears just won’t come. I envy people who experience the release of outward displays of emotion. It must be cathartic.

What on earth am I supposed to do, just sit here and miserably implode? No, thanks. I’ve got to find some sort of vent.

As I was reflecting on all of this, a thought came to me: can I sing in the rain? More importantly, will I sing in the rain?

It’s easy to sing joyfully when life is going well. It’s natural to call on God in the dark times. But to sing joyfully in that darkness? To open my mouth in praise when all I want to do is swear viciously? To actually stand and praise the God that could stop the pain? That’s another matter all together.

We are all of us confronted by what philosophers and theologians have called the Problem of Pain every single day. How do we make sense of the world? Of faith? Of God?

Do we turn from Him when we need Him the most?

When I lift my face, I see only clouds. Anxiety, frustration, doubt, fear, sadness. It begins as a drizzle but soon develops into a torrent. I have a choice to make. Stand still or tap my foot? Press my lips together or sing in a daring act of trust? Get wet or reach for the Umbrella?

It’s only a whisper, the barest hint of a voice. Audible only to the One who hears when I call.

I’m singin’ in the rain.

Jesus, the F-Bomb and Me

Gentle Reader,

For those of you who have never had to endure a week’s worth of methylpredisolone (or however you spell that), this post may not make a whole lot of sense.

I am, essentially, in the throes of ‘roid rage. The ER doc who gave me the meds told me this would happen. I knew it was coming, as I’ve taken it before. Still, it’s a bit shocking to my system.

I want to kick my dogs. I was awake all night. I’m craving large quantities of Arby’s. The stupid nebulizer treatments make me shake like a crack addict undergoing withdrawals. I just ate an entire package of turkey lunchmeat, and I’m mad that there isn’t more in my fridge. Late last night…or was it early this morning?….I became briefly convinced that there was a profound message hidden within the melody of the theme to “The Office.” I haven’t showered, because I feel that if I have to endure this misery, than anyone who comes into contact with me is at least going to have to endure the misery of my smell. Take that.

I really, really want to scream. I want to drop the F-bomb as loud as I possibly can. I am in a tango with despair. How am I ever going to get well if I can’t sleep? Is my life going to consist of uppers and downers and everything in between? Logically, I know that I can’t have acute bronchitis…or whatever this is…forever, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way right now.

Around 8:30 this morning, I wandered from the couch to my bed, hoping that somehow I’d be able to catch some Z’s. My heart was racing and I broke out in a cold sweat. For a second, I thought I was going to die. Is this it? Tangled in the sheets that are attacking me, hair plastered to my skin, blood-shot eyes wildly rolling?

I prayed what was perhaps the most honest prayer of my life.

“Jesus. Dude. You gotta help me. I know that I haven’t read my Bible in almost two weeks. I know that I haven’t been talking to You. I don’t know why. I just got lost somehow. I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss my church. I miss being able to think. I miss writing. I miss hot chocolate. I don’t know where my glasses are. Jesus, please. I know I’m not a very good person. But I have to think that You know what it means to be really sick, because the New Testament says that You were faced with everything that we are faced with. I want to eat something. I don’t know what, but I hope it’s chocolate. And bacon. Please help me. I need to sleep. I need to breathe. I need to not cough. I need You to come hang out with me right now.”

I drifted off for about an hour after that. I have no idea why I can remember that prayer word for word, but I believe that Jesus was there the whole time – rather, has been here the whole time. Still is. I think He knows that I can barely function enough to write this blog post, and so maybe His Spirit is talking to my spirit in ways that I can’t understand. And that’s okay. In the wee hours of the morning as I was really tripping out and watching the unaired pilot of “The Big Bang Theory” on my computer (it’s quite awful), He was there. As I scarfed up that lunchmeat, He was there. As I struggle against screaming, He’s here. Even if I do scream, He’ll still be here. And He’ll forgive me for it.

Jesus understands me better than I understand me, and I think that He also understands what pharmaceuticals can do to a person from time to time. Do you have any idea how beautiful it is to sit here, knowing that I look like a train has run me over, and to know that Jesus thinks I’m pretty? Do you know how wonderful it is to think that I could put on some vintage Audio A and run around my house talking to the pink daisies and that Jesus would be there, probably laughing?

I feel crazy. Certifiably.

And Jesus is here, just hanging out with me.

I think that’s cool.