My tears have fallen frequently as I attempt to absorb the losses that keep coming. As I write, I am thinking of the dilemma that currently tests me. The vertigo I experienced following the surgery to remove my tumor has lessened significantly, but I am still unable to lie in any position except on my right side without dizziness. My right hip is complaining, making sleep more difficult. I was thinking today, “Something has to give. Either my hip has to stop hurting or I have to be able to lie in other positions. I have to sleep in order to heal and fight cancer!”
As the tears start to fall again from my tired eyes, I ask myself why I’m crying. Am I grieving another loss, or am I upset with a situation God has allowed? My first thought is that I’m not sure, but I know that the answer to this question is important.
When Job grieved the loss of his children and wealth, he did not sin. Significantly, he did not blame God in his grief.
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
Upon initial reflection, I am not aware of any angry thoughts toward God. I can see some of the good He is working through my trials. I frequently thank Him for the many blessings that I do have. I honestly love Him and am grateful for His mercy in calling me to be one of His own. I love reading His words to me in the Bible and coming to Him in prayer. I crave fellowship with His other children. I cherish the thought of seeing Him in person some day.
However, I also know that I sometimes feel frustrated by the increasing number of limitations in my life. Frustration seems to me to be a form of anger; it says that what has been given is aggravating. It’s as if I’m saying, “God, I don’t like what You’re doing here.” A thought such as, “I’m tired of being sick all the time” sounds an awful lot like rebellion to me. This is a far cry from Job’s praise in Job 1:21 or his response to his wife in Job 2:10: “‘...Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
“O wretched man that I am…” (Romans 7:24). Looking deeply at the root of my thoughts shows me that there is still pride within me. How dare I complain about what God has allowed. He has already shown me the greatest mercy of all: salvation through Jesus.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
I did not earn my salvation; God’s mercy is what will keep me from going to hell. God’s mercy is also the reason that I have had many chemical-sensitivity-free, pain-free, vertigo-free, cancer-free, insomnia-free years. Instead of being frustrated that my physical condition has changed, my attitude should be one of appreciation for having had these undeserved mercies for so long. Such was the attitude of Jonathan Edwards’ wife, Sarah, when she wrote of his death to their daughter, Esther:
From “Sarah Edwards: Jonathan’s Home and Haven”
My very dear child, What shall I say? A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may kiss the rod, and lay our hands upon our mouths! The Lord has done it. He has made me adore his goodness, that we had him so long. But my God lives; and he has my heart. O what a legacy my husband, and your father, has left us! We are all given to God; and there I am, and love to be. Your affectionate mother, Sarah Edwards.
Although it may be with grieving tears, can I, like Job, accept that every mercy I have had in my life is more than I was born with? Can I, like Sarah Edwards, appreciate that I had each blessing for as long as I did even though it did not last forever? Like both, can I accept that the removal of mercies comes at the hand of Someone who continues to be good and deserves to be praised? With prolonged trials, the temptation to fail in these ways becomes great, but God’s power is deep enough to strengthen me in my deep need.
Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.