Back in hospital.
Back being ill.
Back with things being tough.
But to be honest, though my heart sank when I realised I was getting not so well again, a tiny bit of me felt relieved. You see, I really do struggle spiritually when things get easy and nothing kills my love of gospel like a smooth life.
I’m not trying to be super pious. But these feelings excite me. Perhaps this is what walking along the road of James 1:2 looks like. Maybe this is what it means to count it joy when I meet trials of various kinds.
There’s a part of me that loves the easier life and not a day goes by when I don’t wish for a ‘normal’, healthy, 2.5 children, live long with my husband set up. But the thing is, if I really, deep down, want things to get easier, I know I should just stop praying that we become more faithful, more loving and more like Jesus. And if I look at it that way, it becomes so obvious.
His way is best.
Simple as that.
On Sunday evening I thought I might be going to meet my King. But He said no. Apparently there’s more for me here. And when I look into my husband’s eyes, I know that it’s right. When I read emails from my sisters, I know that I need more time. And when I realise what such a thing would be to my parents, I’m glad I’m still here.
But this is not the story I planned. This isn’t the 2.5 children, nice house, easy life that I wanted. I have no answers. What is going on?
I know there are good things even in the pain. And I know there are great things ahead. But still, when I wake up at night, I just want to say, ‘Lord, why? Why is this story for me?’
I had a shower today. My first in a few days. Disgusting, I know. But today I managed to stay off oxygen long enough. And I feel clean and happy. A lot cleaner and a lot happier than I do after my usual daily shower. The thing is, when you get really messy, getting clean again is glorious. That’s the way the world works. Loving makes pain worth it, like joy makes sadness worth it and emptying a full bladder makes needing the loo worth it. You laugh, but you know what I mean.
It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to come before the throne and ask what’s going on. Faith doesn’t mean blindly accepting. Faith involves grieving and pain. Faith involves hurting and asking, pleading and screaming.
‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
But faith knows there is an answer. Because faith trusts in a promise. And in the midst of the questions and the weeping, faith whispers:
‘Your will be done.’
I believe in life. I believe in hope. I believe in joy. And yet there are days when believing is hard. When the reality of sin and its consequences hit home in sad ways. Having an illness makes you feel the pinpricks of life often. There isn’t a day when I’m not reminded of illness and sadness, of pain and discomfort. And sometimes, some days I feel those pinpricks harder and bigger than before.
Today I learned of the death of a friend with Cystic Fibrosis. I didn’t know her very well but I knew enough to be amazed at her life, at her hope and at her joy. She fought for over 30 years, she ran the race and crossed the finish line into the arms of the Saviour she loved. She will have a new body one day, a body made perfect, a body with lungs that can breathe long and deep breaths, a body with energy enough to run marathons.
And I weep. Not for Claire. She has found Glory. But for her family and friends. For the fight they will have to believe in life and hope and joy. For my own struggles yet to come. And for my own fight to believe.
But in the sadness, the Life Giver is there. He knows the pinpricks. And he knows the nail wounds. And he tells me that life is eternal, that hope is here and that joy can be found. It’s our job to trust.