January was rough. First, I had my wisdom teeth out, suffering horrible pain for the first half of the month. No sooner was my mouth healed when Strep Throat attacked. Only I didn’t know I had Strep so I waited a full five days before heading to the doc. I don’t know what was worse: all of the pain or the boredom and laziness. I felt worthless.
Honey Dude was my hero, my nurse, my patient comforter. He made me two kinds of special-recipe-gourmet mashed potatoes, brought me cold popsicles on the couch, and tucked blankets around me for days. What’s more, he never complained, never hassled me, never failed to lift my spirits.
At one point, I begged Honey Dude for reprieve. Not that he could help it, but I just wanted to whine. I was sick of the doom and gloom. As much as Honey Dude brightened my day, it wasn’t enough to pull me from the funk, or heal my pain.
Looking back on it now, I feel like such a wimp. There are many people in this world who suffer pain ten times stronger, and ten times longer. Now healthy and fresh off a vacation to sunny So-Cal, I am ashamed at my impatience and self-pity. In the scheme of things, it was but a breath!
This morning I again read from James one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Like a gal in my small group once said about scripture: That’s uncomfortable!
It’s uncomfortable because it’s so hard to swallow. Joy? In trials? But then I read another random verse. And it suddenly made sense, in a beautiful way.
The Psalm said this, of one who fears the Lord: He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid…(Psalm 112:7-8a)
Suddenly it’s palatable. There is a plan outside of ourselves, and way beyond the pain of the moment. We of course would choose the easy, pain-free route to life. But trusting God brings joy to the heart and peace to the mind. Perfection, completeness.
That’s why we humans can never be perfect. We struggle to trust God. Even when we know we can, we should, and we do with other aspects of our lives, there are still areas where we falter and try to take the reins, or simply whine and complain. Either way, I am busted. Totally guilty.
But every day is a new chance to trust God in word and deed. Having received my reprieve in showers of radiant blessings beyond the simple normalcies I’d been missing, I am again wowed by the magnitude of God’s love. Thank you, Lord. Your love is better than life!