Saturday, July 10, 2010

longing for some trusted truth . . .

One of the highlights of my school years was the annual sports day and family picnic that was held at the start of each school year. We would conclude the day with a swim at the local pools.  I remember feeling quite brave as an eight or 9 year old, as I climbed to the top of the water slide & whooshed down into waist deep water. But it wasn't long before I was ready to take on the diving boards. I remember one year, maybe i was twelve or 13.  It was near the end of the day & time to hit the pools. After splashing around in the water for a bit I headed for the diving boards. There were two of them - the short one and the high one.  The short diving board was popular with most of the older girls & some younger children who were confident swimmers but the only kids attempting the high diving board were the college-aged boys. In a moment of mad determination i decided i too would jump from the high board.  However, when i asked a teacher if this was ok, i was informed that girls were not allowed to jump; they must dive (due to health reasons).  As i climbed the ladder, terrified, I knew that if i was going to go through with the dive, I needed to do it quickly, without any hesitation.  Reaching the top of the ladder I stood, then carefully walked to the end of the board.  I looked down to the water below. It looked further than i could have imagined. I took a deep breath, lifted my arms over my head & dived.

I imagine i emerged from the water that day; triumphant -  the only girl, maybe the only kid in the whole school to dive from the high diving board. But that's not a memory that remains. The memory that does remain is more a feeling.  The strangest sensation of falling through the air, waiting to reach the water for what seemed like an eternity.  And i didn't like it.

When i was pregnant with my first baby i was fearful about what could go wrong, especially of miscarriage.  i knew the statistics for miscarriage, especially in the first trimester.  i was nervous about telling people that i was pregnant in those early weeks, like somehow that would 'jinx' things. I didn't want to get my hopes up or dare get excited in case it was all taken away from me.  More specifically, that God would take it all away from me.  i was scared that i would lose the baby & then it would be as though nothing had ever happened.  As i thought about it & talked to a few people close to me i was able to get to a place where i felt ok about telling people i was pregnant.  Because even though this little thing inside me was tiny, & couldn't yet be seen, she was a little life forming & i already loved her & if something bad did happen, then it would be ok for me to grieve. I held on to Ps 139 & just had to trust that God had my best at heart. It helped me to be in a more peaceful place during my pregnancy.

When my little girl was born i felt so blessed to have this treasure in my life.   I told myself that it wasn't my right to be a parent, but my privilege.  She wasn't mine, but one of God's children placed in my care to raise until she was capable of making it on her own. Which is all airy fairy, oops . . .  i mean all good in theory. Except you kind of get attached to the little critters. And i was still so aware of how fragile this precious life was. And i was still fearful.

Last year my litle girl suffered a convulsion.  There had been warning signs leading up to it but i had failed to pick up on them until it was too late.  Amazingly, i was on the phone to a lady from Healthline at the time it happened. She told me what to do, then put me on hold while she called an ambulance. As i waited, my mind began to race - what was going on here? Would she be ok or was this something more sinister like meningitis? I was terrified she was going to die.

I began to pray and as i prayed, instead of being filled with peace & reassurance, i despaired.  And as i watched my child convulsing, i once again experienced the strange sensation that i had jumping from the high dive that day.  There i was endlessly falling . . . plunging helplessly with no control over anything.  I should have felt like i was crying out to a caring, faithful Father. Instead i was overcome with a sense of helplessness, like i trying to reason with  Someone random & unpredictable.  I felt like it didn't matter what i said, He was just going to do whatever He wanted to, & i was completely powerless.

Bugsy quickly recovered from the convulsion & bounced back from the virus that brought it on, within a few days. However, i was left shaken, physically. But also spiritually. Up until that moment, if you had asked me about my faith in God i would have told you that i had a strong faith in Him, that i trusted Him. But that incident revealed to me my true feelings. I was shocked to realize that I really didn't trust Him at all.

Since then i have battled with this whole issue of trust.  Ok, i get that we are in a fallen (sinful) world.  And i realize that i'm just a small human, with limited understanding, who can't see the whole picture. Isaiah 55 vs 8 & 9 - 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.'  But what about my friends, believing they were only able to conceive through IVF, elated to find themselves with a 'natural' pregnancy, only to lose the baby at 17 weeks? Or a pregnant woman who carries a healthy baby full-term, then discovering that her child has died in the womb, hours before birth? Or my own brother dying just days before his second birthday after a 'routine' eye operation that went wrong? Where is my caring, faithful Father in these situations?  I know that sometimes against-all-odds miracles do occur. Its just that my heart says that He's supposed to be this all-powerful, loving Dad, yet i still find Him  random & unpredictable. And if  you can't even rely on Him to answer consistently when you pray, then WHAT IS THE POINT?

And then i have to stop & ask myself - does unpredictable equal unreasonable, irrational, unreliable? I don't think so.  I look at my own life up until this point, and even though i have gone through some challenging times, I can say with honesty that He has never let me down.  And I look at the Bible & what it says about His character and Who He is.
Hebrews 13 v 5b - God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'.

I have to be honest, I have rewritten parts of this blog more times than I care to remember. These last couple of weeks, this whole issue of ‘trusting God’ has weighed heavy on my mind. Today I sat down to pray & remembered the verse – ‘Be still & know that I am God’ – Ps. 46 vs 10a. And so, I was still . . . and as I sat there suddenly I was overcome with the knowledge that He Is God. The God of the universe, yes. Not random & detached . . . but there with me. How bizarre and humbling to think that He wanted to be there with me! That He wants a relationship with me. And that He is good.

Exodus 34 vs 6 The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness . . .

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love . . .

And as I sat there in His presence, my doubt & distrust faded into the background. I don’t understand God. I don’t understand why He allows some tragic & unfair things to happen; why some prayers seemingly go unanswered.  But I do know that He is good and I live in hope that one day I will be able to look back & understand the whole story.
1 Corinthians 13:12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised IS FAITHFUL.

Run away. Searching for release; some relief
Will it always be this way?
What comes of hope? Longing for some trusted truth . . .
Take a breath and look to the light.

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