Monday, February 24, 2014

Much to hope from a rose...

"There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as religion. It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary to our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness that gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers."- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Thursday, February 06, 2014

seeing the glory of God….

Combine Evan, a bag of rubber bands, and about 30 minutes and you get a work of art that will keep you from opening your desk drawers more than half an inch…

So, it's been a little bit of an emotional roller coaster around here lately. I've recently been diagnosed with chronic bladder pain, otherwise known as "interstitial cystitis." Yeah, not exactly an easy thing to talk about in polite company. I've had this on and off since Seth was 6 months old, but its been rare and generally hasn't lasted more than a week or so, so I was hoping it would leave and never come back, and I didn't bother to figure out what I had (once again, hoping I had nothing.) This latest round has been going on 3 months now. It ranges from making me want to cry to low grade discomfort, so I finally went to see a urologist. (Again. I went to see one 6 years ago who did a CAT scan and took pictures of my bladder, and told me he couldn't find anything wrong. Umm, thanks.) 

The next step is pelvic floor physical therapy. Doesn't that sound fun? :)

Anyhoo, all this to say that I've been a little grumpy with God. I've been grumpy on a few different levels. I've been doubting some things that I think He's been saying to me about where our life is headed, and I've been doubting that He's going to take care of me and keep me functioning so I can serve my kids and my husband well. 

But the good news is that God doesn't usually leave me doubting him without doing His best to get my attention and encourage me. This week's CBS lesson was on John 11, the raising of Lazarus. As I did Seth's lesson with him last night, I noticed a thing or two about Martha. 

See, Martha, she has a problem with being a yo-yo like me. One minute she's saying, "Yes, Lord, I know you've got my situation under control. I know you're powerful. I believe it. I trust you." And the next minute she's saying, "Ok, where were you when I really needed you? Where were you when I was just sure that you'd show up and make everything right?" Um, this sounds awfully familiar. 

So Martha tells Jesus, "If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now, I know that God will give you whatever you ask." See the smidgen of faith here? She's trying. She's heard that Jesus has raised others from the dead before. Maybe they were just mostly dead like the cynics have been claiming. She's going to try and push the doubts about the whole "mostly dead" thing to the back of her mind. She's trying to trust.

And then 5 minutes later, when Jesus asks to open the tomb, what's her first thought? "Are you sure? He's been in there 4 days, and he probably smells bad." Seeing a lot of faith here? Are these the words of somebody who is expecting the miracle that she claimed she has faith for earlier? Apparently Jesus doesn't think so either, because he says this:

"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

Our teaching director pointed this out in lecture today, and I wanted to cry right there at the table. Because I am struggling, just like Martha, to believe that I will see the glory of God. And God is challenging me, just like He did her. It's time to step up and believe…. even though I can't see how my pain is going to be used for His glory. Even though it feels laughable to think that He'd come through on other promises we think He's made to our family. 

I wrote the verse in bold up there on a chalkboard, and its in my living room now. I suspect that I'm going to need to see it often. He had patience with Martha, and I hope He'll have patience with me.