I’ve been stuck amidst the questions again. God, are you going to heal me? Will I ever feel better in this life? Should I just accept that You may not heal? Does submitting to Your will by ending my own striving mean giving up more attempts at treatment? Should I stop what I’m doing now and let You heal me on Your own? Sometimes I think I would be able to handle suffering better if I knew there would be an end date. If I knew God would heal me, I could stick it out until then. The possibility of feeling this miserable for the rest of my life is unbearable and I struggle to accept it. That’s why my questions keep swirling.
On Sunday I was worshipping upstairs in the window room when God spoke to my heart and said, “You’re asking the wrong questions.” I thought about it for awhile and realized that all of these swirling questions boil down to one thing: Am I going to be disappointed with or angry at God? God hasn’t told me whether or not He will heal me and I have to admit that part of the motivation for knowing the answer would be so that I would know how to feel. If the answer is “yes”, I could thank Him and rejoice and hold on until then. But if the answer is “no”, I could be angry and hurt and have no more will to continue. Perhaps that’s the reason God hasn’t answered… because He knows if He said “no,” I would lie down and give up.
So then, what are the right questions? Maybe the questions I need to ask myself are, if God does say “no” to my healing, can I still thank Him and rejoice and hold onto Him? I’ve been openly angry at God in the past and I tried to walk away from Him. It was the darkest time of my life and I never want to go back there. I thought I had worked through this with God, but maybe a small root of poison is still inside of me that needs to be torn out in order for me to continue to heal spiritually.
I’ve been studying the book of Jeremiah for a couple weeks because, goodness, those people had to wait! God tells them that they have a future and a hope even though they will have to wait in exile for 70 years. That does not sound hopeful to me. My lack of healing does not feel hopeful to me. But God tells His people what to do while they wait for deliverance:
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”- Jeremiah 29:5-7
In other words, don’t just give up on life. Their circumstances were far from anything they wanted, but they were not to fall into despair. God wanted them to get comfortable with the circumstances in which He placed them and get on with their lives. He wanted them to stop pining for deliverance and start planting gardens and enjoying their fruit. He wanted them to increase and pray for peace in the midst of their circumstances.
I am asking God the wrong questions. He wants me to stop pining for deliverance and start planting and enjoying the fruit of my suffering. The right questions are actually directed at me. Am I willing to settle down and plant here or am I going to give up on life? Am I going to pray for peace here or will I fall into despair again? Am I willing to throw off the chain I’ve attached between deliverance and all things good (joy, endurance, etc)? Will I grow and increase here instead of shriveling up in the poison of my mind?
We have a poison ivy problem at our house and Jason is severely allergic so I’ve been trying to kill it with natural weed killer. Three times now I’ve sprayed it all along the fence to no avail. And this morning, as if to mock me, I noticed that instead of dying under the wrath of the weed-killer, a beautiful flower has actually bloomed. I laughed out loud. God gave a visual gift to my questioning heart. It was as if the vine said, “I know you want me to die here. I know I live in the midst of poison. But I will not die. I will bloom instead. You can spray me all you want but I will not shrivel up. I will increase.”
Will I say the same? Will I bloom and shine here or will I shrivel up in the darkness of disappointment? Will I pray for peace and for the poison of the enemy to be removed from my heart or will I shrivel up and die, fruitless? Will I not only survive here but will I increase and thrive? These are the right questions… and I hope and pray that my answer will be a resounding, “YES.”