This weekend has been an emotional roller-coaster. It’s hard to explain why: perhaps I am looking for some answers as I write. Perhaps for once I just want to let off steam instead of presenting cleverly argued points with Scripture references to back them up – all neatly packaged to sound clever. Those kind of posts help me feel in control, secure, on top of things, like I know what I’m talking about, like I’m building something, brick upon brick. And there is no doubt I have learned so much through the ups and downs of the past 2 years with Sam: it is satisfying to be able to share that stuff, to feel I have some precious jewels out of all this, some comfort to share. God is always good – no doubt about it – and He’s working it all for good.
But tonight I want to scream and swear and cry; I am feeling sad and battered and really need to find peace again… So what’s changed? I had it nailed and things were going well, lots of grace, a sense of direction and hope – and really nothing has changed except a bit of discouragement, some unhelpful comments from well-meaning Christians – and Sam having a sore head all day, staying in his bed, tired and miserable, falling into despair and feeling everything he’s tried has come to nothing 😦 That makes us both so sad – there is nothing we can do or say.
I went to a 2 day Christian gathering. I’m glad I went – it was good to see friends, to make some good connections and re-connections and be in the presence of God. I was meant to be there and I have come home with treasure. Perhaps I over-exerted myself, gave out a bit more than I could afford (wouldn’t be the first time!) but I received much needed prayer, confirmations and encouragement too: a lot of it didn’t hit the spot, but what needed to did – and in ways I didn’t expect.
Here’s a revelation! An African friend prayed with me about Sam, and he said until God clearly shows that He is not going to heal him we are going to believe that He will! But all this time I have been holding back from that, thinking I can’t pray all out for healing until I have the revelation that brings faith… I can’t be presumptuous. I have not dared to believe. Why not look at it from Jonathan’s angle? God is kind and compassionate, He doesn’t send sickness, He wants to heal and has the power to do so. OK, Lord, unless You tell us not to, we will ask and believe 🙂 I do have the faith to pray, ‘Thank You, Lord, for healing Sam’ – all the more because Sam really has been so well and his last scan did show improvement.
We’ve been doing this anyway, really; we’ve been asking and many friends have been asking for healing with the different levels of faith we have all been given. But I know my own heart – I know I have held back partly through fear of disappointment. I have so desperately wanted to keep in balance with reality, not fall into the trap I have seen so many fall into, pretending it is not happening to us – and then be proved wrong. With Martin in the family it was never going to be an option for us to take that route – he sees death, tells people they are going to die all the time: death is a fact of life for us.
So I had made my peace, without really understanding what I was agreeing to – who does when they say ‘Yes’ to God? I had bowed down to ‘Your will not mine be done’ because that is my default position, rather than rising up to declare LIFE in the face of this threat. I had offered my son up like Abraham offering Isaac, thinking that was the right thing to do. And now my peace is shattered because I doubt having taken the submissive position – doubt undermines what I thought I had worked out, with guilt hot on its heels.
It’s because an old friend gave me the ‘not enough faith’ line. Jesus’ disciples couldn’t heal the epileptic boy and He blamed their lack of faith (Matthew 17v17-20). My appeal to Job’s experiences simply got the dismissal that Job was ‘old covenant’: there is no arguing with such theological certainty, despite our journey of pain that they have not undergone. The rug was out from under my feet and the heartbreak began to come out.
I haven’t cried much, but I cried this weekend – confused, hurt, desperate, guilty and afraid. But the Lord doesn’t do that, does He? Yes there was a healthy element of deep calling to deep in it as well – a realisation of how dry I have become – but He is not going to punish me when I am empty and broken in my need. After a while I remembered Jesus told the disciples, the community of faith, that their faith was lacking – not the man who brought his son to them for healing… So all I could do was stand under an open heaven and ask for the gift to be poured on me.
So hope rises again as the roller-coaster goes up – all the positive things that have happened that I wrote about last time – and then Sam has a bad day and it goes down. His head aches and my head aches from trying to think in straight lines and hold everything with integrity and honesty – but mostly my heart aches. He didn’t get his scan on Friday after all – miscommunication about the location – so its next Friday instead. I thought perhaps that happened because the prayers being prayed for him this weekend may make even more difference, cause more improvement… but now I guess that was merely wishful thinking. Its hard to know what to think, when uncertainty is all we have and hope deferred makes our hearts sick. Let me off this ride!
Nevertheless, I will still pray ‘Thank You, Lord, for healing Sam’ – in so many ways. We will all sleep and tomorrow will be another day, with trouble and grace of its own.