Jonah boy has re-discovered
his electric guitar. When he gets ready to play, he sets the dials and then looks for the button that will play that special song (this week it has been Message in a Bottle by The Police). Once his fingers are all in place, he shuts his eyes. thrusts his head back and goes into his zone. He doesn't rock out. Quite to the contrary, he holds very still and focuses on the strings he strums with those pudgy, dirt-crusted fingers, coaxing little chords here and there from the rainbow plastic while the song plays on.
And it is not about the audience. It is the experience. He doesn't care if he is alone or in a room full of people, he just goes there, to that wonderful place in his cute little head.
I have been thinking about the nature of Faith lately. I used to think Faith was believing IN God. Believing that he exists, sharing that belief with others, making choices based on that belief.
I am coming to understand that Faith is also Believing God.
Believing that He means what He has said.
When everything was happening so fast and furiously in the hospital, we were drawn every minute to counsel with God. It was like He was our Compass that we held in our hand to look to as each new choice was presented to us. We were constantly seeking inspiration in bold bursts, and then immediately making decisions based on the feelings that followed.
Things have slowed down now. The bad news has gone from a raging fire hose to a trickling sink. Even when it does come in bigger bursts, it doesn't seem to phase us as much. I take the bad news and sort it off to the side, like one does mail intended for another person. There is the pile of things for me to worry about, and the things for God to worry about.
As I pray, I am in a juggling act between the "ask and ye shall receive" promises found in scripture, and the "Thy will be done" that we are all supposed to humbly surrender to. There are still things that we would like to have happen, but after all that has happened, to ask for them now seems selfish. I would like my leg to stop hurting. I wonder every day if this will be my new existence, "Sorry kids, Mommy can't, she has to put her leg up." On days when it hurts a lot, like the last several days, I panic thinking that the clot is coming back, something I will be at a 30% risk for the rest of my life. I want to ask not to live in fear, not to have to worry about that happening, but that is not realistic. I won't necessarily have to "worry", but I will always have to be cautious, and frankly, to me, it's hard to feel the difference between the two.
And then there is the strangeness of the nature of trials. It turns out that while we all get our turn, there is no actual turn taking when it comes to experiencing hardship. There isn't a line we wait in, knowing somehow that the next one is coming. There isn't a "trial-quota" that once reached, cannot be surpassed. Trials are not like chicken-pox, endured once, never to return. They just come.
I used to imagine that certainly after 4 miscarriages I had maxed out. Then, when a trial hit our lives that I chose not to share here, I thought we had created a cosmic insurance policy that would absolve us from any future griefs of it's kind.
Then all this happened, and happened again, and I have suddenly become aware that there is no limit to the amount of suffering one person or family may face. And with no assurance that pain and grief will expire, we look for other assurances.
That the pain somehow won't hurt as much.
That a miracle will happen.
That our faith will grow so strong that somehow the outcome, whatever it is, will be something we can face and accept.
And I guess for me this is where the faith has been stepping into play. I will be challenged. I will experience loss and grief for the rest of my life. They are as sure to come as Jonah's messes on my kitchen floor.
Faith lies in my capacity to move the fear and the pain over to God's pile. To let Him carry it. To believe him when He says He will be on my right and on my left. Faith isn't in the end, it is in the enduring. Faith isn't never wavering, it is getting your footing back after you do. Faith is in understanding that having no control over the outcome does not mean having no control over the way you accept that outcome, and how you act in the process.
I'm not there yet.
So I close my eyes, and lean back my head to heaven, and seek.
|Photos by Tessa|