A few months ago a dear friend recommended a podcast to me – one by Timothy Keller of Redeemer, that big church in New York. It took me all this time to figure out that I would benefit more from this podcast if I were fully awake when listening, and then I really enjoyed this one message, titled “Wounded.”
It’s about having a wounded spirit. The title naturally begs the question, “Wounded by whom?”
I’ve said before that I’m so thankful that my injury did not stem from an act of violence or carelessness on the part of another person. It wasn’t even the result of an accident.
I wrote an email to another friend earlier this week, detailing my reaction to the situation I found myself in when I woke up.
…It is the pattern of scripture for there to be despair (at the cross) before glory (of the resurrection). Things have looked pretty bleak for me for a long time. Yes, I’m thankful for the good things and people that bless me daily, but to be frank, I miss my old life – my job, car, friends, home, etc. And then there are the physical symptoms…but I digress. But I have gone on the record (in my writing etc.) saying that God’s not going to leave me hanging. Unbelievers might interpret my insistence on this point as a mental necessity – if I didn’t think things were going to get better I’d crack. Well, it’s true – if I didn’t think this I might just (crack). But my belief does not hinge on needing to believe something so I can continue to function – I had the opportunity to discard my faith, and given my personality no one would have been able to make me feel bad about it. I doubt that anyone would have blamed me – I’m not a dummy. I can put 2 and 2 together. As I say in that clip, “This is what I got.” I wanted to leave my handsome income and completely independent lifestyle and serve the Lord in the 3rd world. He then took me out of play by making me acutely disabled. And PS a chunk of my brain is missing. Yeah. When I said “This is what I got,” [it dawned on me that people aren’t used to hearing a spade called a spade like this] and it was then that I realized that these thoughts are very familiar to me but other people have no idea [that I’ve been pondering] them. But I’m like, hey, I’m just saying what you all were thinking.
Anyway, sorry – my faith rests on the fact that it is the pattern of scripture for weeping to endure for a night, but for joy to come in the morning. My scenario is unique to me, and yes, it looks “bad” on the outside, but it is in keeping with how the Lord does things – so I’m going to wait for the joyful morning, even though it’s hard…”
The way I figured it was that there were two possible conclusions as to why this happened to me:
1) God is either not powerful enough, or is not caring enough to “fix” this situation for me. If the latter, God is being mean to me.
2) God, in His God-ness, looked down the avenue of eternity and said that this idea (my brain bleeding right when I wanted to become a missionary) was good. While I look at it and see a train wreck of a testimony, God (having planned things like how to have a relationship with humankind via Christ’s death and resurrection) is using His ability to orchestrate the big and small events of my life to fit into a fabulous work of art that I can’t see from my vantage point, but that I believe is there. This masterpiece showcases His greater glory and even at present I can discern how He has sown seeds of encouragement for me along the way. However, I am confident that my limited understanding only grasps a fraction of His care for me.
I settled on conclusion 2. Now in response to anyone who might be thinking, “Wow – she sure drank the Kool-Aid BIG TIME!” Let me just say that I did not drink the Kool Aid. Christ offered me a drink of living water, and it is some powerful stuff. Yes, indeed. Powerful. Stuff.
I now have resurrection power (Ephesians 1.19-20) coursing through my veins. I actually got a heart transplant from that living water, and I love telling other people where to find this thirst-quenching draught. This was not always the case. For a while there I was absolutely ready to discard my faith as what had not worked for me – backfired, actually – and I offer this as a proof of how I did not drink the Kool Aid – I’ve actually thought about this very carefully.
I think about it carefully often. Although my big question was answered in the summer of 2011, the business of daily living is difficult. But I’m going to keep on waiting for that joyful morning – I find rest in the fact that although this situation is a harrowing ride for me, everything is completely under control.