I've been a Christian for fourteen years. (That is just more than half my life, by the way.) I've seen God move in my life and the lives of others around me. I felt called into some sort of ministry when I was in High School. God revealed to me, later, that ministry would be to my husband in ministry. Thus, I became a 'pastor's wife.'
So I've been a 'Pastor's wife' for seven years now. I've seen the ins and outs, the good, the bad and the ugly, of the church world. I've prayed with people, over people, and even had the opportunity to be used by God to lead people unto Himself.
I was voted "most likely to change after high school' during my senior year. People thought I wouldn't remain faithful to my call.
And to all outward appearances, nearly ten years later, I have.
Let me preface by saying, I have not forsaken my faith. No. That is not the concern what-so-ever. Rather, God is starting a new work in me through a recent revelation.
I've been wrestling with God, sometimes exhaustingly and quite literally, over many basic truths. "Are you good?" has been something I've been shouting at Him for many, many months. You see, somewhere I've developed this vision of a God whose only mean of drawing us to Himself is through hurting us. I'm afraid of the hurting.
I've been begging, "Why can't I see you? Where have you gone?" and doubt has entered the innermost parts of my heart. My prayer has since become, "Lord!" I shout at Him, as though He's a million miles away, "I believe, but help my unbelief!" And I lie ashamed.
You see - to all who have seen me - I appear very faithful. In fact, to look in the mirror, I have appeared to myself to be quite faithful. "Fourteen years and counting, Lord," I profess, and I break my arm patting myself on the back. "Good thing this is a race of endurance."
Rather, good thing He is faithful. It has recently been brought to my attention that possibly - just maybe - my professing words and my church service and attendance may not be the faith God is referring to when He said, "without faith it is impossible to please God." He doesn't say "without church attendance" or "without good works or service", He says "without faith."
And up until a few days ago, I really assumed I was fine in that department. It wasn't even a department I would have explored.
But I have tragically learned that this area that I once found to come so easily, has, with each new blessing, become quite difficult.
The very night God brought this to light in my life, our son woke up at 12:30 with a blazing fever, mumbling about how the ambulance lights had woken him. I couldn't believe it. We'd just finished a round of antibiotics a week ago for ear infections. Not again. I did what most moms would do, stripped his shirt off of him, gave him a dose of tylenol, got a cold wash cloth for his head, and tucked him back in bed. I prayed for him before going back to sleep myself, asking, specifically, for God to remove whatever sickness was lingering in his body.
B woke up the next morning with no sign of a fever, no symptoms, no complaints. I convinced myself the tylenol was still lingering in his system, and we'd wait it out until the next dose. The next dose never came, and the longer he went without a fever and the longer he begged to go play outside, the more I really began to question whether God had answered my prayer.
Ashamedly, I was surprised. I realized quickly that not even as the prayer was crossing my mind and exiting my lips did I really even believe that God would actually come through. Prayer was more of a pleading with an invisible person that would just make me feel better momentarily. There was no expectation, no drive, no urgency.
The Lord has driven home His point to me. In praying, "Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief," He's revealing that my faith has decreased to almost nothing. To help my unbelief, He must increase my faith. I've become so attuned to living this humanly predictable life that I've missed the forest for the trees. I've been praying without expectation. I've been missing His blessings because I'm so afraid to legitimately ask for them for fear of disappointment.
I think now at how I would have reacted had I prayed and believed urgently that B would have woken up well, and he hadn't. What would my response had been then? I pray it would be, "But God is still good," but somewhere along the way, I have forgotten that.
It's a time for me to step back from the trees and evaluate the forest. I'm resigned to either change my expectations of the Lord, who says in His word that He loves us, provides for us, and hears our petitions, or to change my prayers until I'm ready to respect the Lord with the faith that He deserves. He has never let me down. He has never left me, and I intend to begin believing again, that He never will.
Until next time -