Saturday, February 7, 2015

Just For Today

I am going to be right up front and tell you that what I am thinking and feeling is absolutely true RIGHT NOW. I suspect it may even ALWAYS be true, but what I can not assure you of, no matter how much I'd like to, is that I will feel the same way about it a year from now, a month from now, or even tomorrow.

Having said that, I feel like God used my son Owen to teach me a powerful lesson today.

Owen, like any other five year old, prefers to get his way, is occasionally remarkably stubborn, and also cute as a button. I think he has inherited absolutely all of these traits directly from his mother. {wink}

Today, he wanted an apple. I told him yes, he could have one if we had any, but we didn't. So then he asked for Rice Krispy treats, and I told him no. He gave my the meanest look he could manage, crossed his arms, and sulked. He argued. I explained to him that Krispy treats have loads of sugar in them, and that dinner was not all that far off, and that he needed to wait.

He lashed out, told me it wasn't true, Krispy treats are actually good for you and dinner was an eternity away and he'd never make it that far and I was a meanie-pants. He pouted, occasionally sneaking a glance in my direction and then flashing his angry eyes at me. I told him I loved him. He shook his head vigorously and said NO! I told him again. Same result. I told him a third time, which he ignored completely.

Then I suggested that perhaps when dad gets home, he can put on his socks and shoes and go with him to the grocery store and help pick out what we make for dinner. He brightened at this idea. He also mentioned we are down to one box of cereal, and proposed we purchase at least one more box, preferably the cookie kind, since that's his favorite.

I told him that the cookie kind isn't really very good for him, which is why we only get it once in a while, as a treat. He was unconvinced, believing his beloved cereal to be the best thing because it was so terrifically tasty. I related to him the sad fact that sometimes things taste good but they really aren't good for our bodies. He looked quizzical, so I elaborated. Sometimes, I explained, things can taste good, but they don't help our bodies to grow or be well. But I also suggested that he could talk to his daddy and they could decide about the cereal.

So that's the story, but as so often happens, God uses analogy to speak volumes to my distracted heart. Over the last three years, I have begged and pleaded to be free of these horrible illnesses. I have gotten mad when He has told me to wait, I have crossed my arms, given God the stink-eye, and thrown a tantrum or two along the way. I have refused to believe things I know are true simply because I have been furious. I have ignored God when he has whispered He loves me. I have sought out things that were not good for me, and become bitter, outraged and offended when I didn't get my way.

He keeps saying he loves me though, and now I see I need a good, wholesome meal and not spiritual junk food. I'm learning, sometimes rather reluctantly, that there are often factors I don't {or won't} see, and that I have a hard time trusting. Faith, hope, trust... none of these things come easy for me. Maybe they don't come easy for lots of us and I've just been surrounded by people who are really grounded and have already been through all this kind of stuff for a lot of my life.

At Bible study on Wednesday, Danny shared that he himself has struggled with doubt, and that he would venture to guess that everyone in the room probably had too, at some time or another. I glanced around and everyone was nodding. Right then, at that moment, I realized I was not alone, and it helped somehow.

Some Christians contend that sickness and death are not from God, they are from the enemy, and are meant to be fought. A few believe God alone heals, that doing anything but praying is going against God's will. Most believe God uses doctors and medicines. Others suggest that there is no reason that'll explain why people get sick and die except that we live in a jacked up world, in fallen bodies that are subject to illness, disease, and death.

What do I believe? I believe God loves me. I want to get better, but even if I don't I want to keep believing He loves me and that He cares, that He knows better than I what is good for me, and that He always pursues whatever is best for me, his stubborn daughter who throws tantrums and tries to push him away when I don't like what He is telling me.

I believe that life is a vapor, gone in a second, and I believe in an eternity without hate and death, pain and sickness, medicine bottles and swollen joints and sleepless nights, wrestling with agony. I believe the song I was taught in infancy, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

Today, I could almost feel His arms ache to draw me close to his heart, to comfort me, to help me understand, just the exact same way I wanted to with my own baby. I know that even though Owen was mad at me, he knew I really did love him. And I know, at least for today, that God loves me, too.

The rest is all details.

I don't say that lightly, I am very sick. But I know the One who made my frame, who formed me, who knit me together in my mother's womb- He knows my needs, and loves me fiercely. I realized today that my greatest need, more than good health or happy moments, or even the very food I eat, is to be loved. And I also realized that He does, definitely, surely, without a doubt, love me, tightly and intimately and perfectly.

He's shown me what I look like when I am angry at Him, the ugliness that contorts my face and my words when I refuse to rest in His love. He's shown me I have trust issues, and that I often lash out and grasp for unhealthy things when I refuse to believe or accept His words. He's also reassured me He is in it for the long haul, that He will never leave me, never give up on me, never fail me.

Just for today, that is enough. He is all that I need.


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