Wednesday, August 31, 2011

the painful part of belief.

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: 
It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

- C.S. Lewis

I've been riding a spiritual roller coaster for what feels like forever now: one moment so happy and grateful and content, the next torn apart, hurt, and in tears, crying desperately for the Abba, Father I thought I knew and loved so well.

And that day, now nearly two weeks ago, when my mother called me frantic and scared, my heart stopped.

I looked at the sky, and I cursed. 

And as I drove to the sight of the accident, I yelled at this loving, creative God who claims to know me and to want to be known by me.

I asked Him, shaking and tearful, just what He was doing up there, just what He thought He was doing to my family, to the ones I love. I wanted to know just who He thought He was, up there so very far from me. 

He let me, by the way. 

Let me cry and scream and curse and pound my steering wheel. 

I'm not saying I'd recommend it. Anger isn't pleasant, and it isn't pretty. 

I don't intend to make a habit of it.

But my mother — who, it should be noted, is fine now — was hurting and alone and upset, and I wanted to know why. I wanted to know where He had been when another car struck hers, where He was when my dad couldn't answer his phone. I wanted to know why it felt like Satan had taken up residence in our homes this summer, coming at us in quiet moments in dark corners.

And He answered. Gently and quietly, after tears were shed and the realization that my mother was, indeed, fine hit me like a punch in the stomach. After apologies were made, and I sat down and let God know I really wasn't angry, just hurt and confused and in desperate need of Him, He told me, like I already knew: I AM.

He was there that day, that moment, that instant when metal hit metal. He was there in my mother's tears and my own angry lamentations.

He was there, too, last week, as I sat in the doctor's chair and prayed fervently for my fears and burdens to be cast aside. I prayed hard for His presence to be felt. Because some days, I simply must feel it. I must not just know it; I must touch it.

The God we serve allows us those moments, I think, to remind us of our weakness, of our absolute dependence on Him for everything we have ever known or never will know.

My little life hasn't experienced a terrible amount of pain. There have been sad and scary moments, to be sure. Anxious, tearful calls from my mother and sobs in a pillow after a grandparent's death. Hurt feelings and broken relationships. Health scares and unkind words.

And some days, it is all just too much to bear, this pain that rocks us and shakes us.

In these last days, pain, for me, has turned into answered prayers, so I am hesitant to say it, but I wonder: Is that the point?

The cancer and the death and the accidents and the anger and the hurt and the divorce and the separation and the division.

Maybe it is all meant to remind us how weak and fallible we are. How alone we would really be if it were not for Him.

I am not sitting here, on the other side of some rather painful moments, trying to provide solid answers to the deep theological mysteries that will never go away.

But I do wonder if C.S. Lewis was right.

If in our hurried lives, pain reminds us, shouts at us, to stop. If the pain occurs because it is the only thing that can awaken us from our apathetic slumber.

Maybe it is the only thing that arouses us to our utter, desperate need for Him.

{photo by David Crandall}


Four Flights said...

why is that though? why when we are in pain do we call out to Him the most? Why does he have to shout to us then? Glad you heard him after the storm though, and so, so glad your mom is fine.

M said...

This posts really speaks to me. I lost my cousin to a drug overdose and my father in law to cancer this summer. Feeling anger must be a natural reaction to things like this, but you are right, the pain does remind us to stop our apathy, shallowness or pettiness. Thank you for this post. You put my feelings into words perfectly

Chantel said...

I absolutely love all of your writing. This post is so applicable to me right now, thanks so much for sharing.

Alyss said...

This is beautiful and something that I wholeheartedly believe in. I, like you, haven't experienced intense pain in this life, but I know people who have. I'm bookmarking this post. You've put my thoughts into the words that I've been searching for when trying to comfort those in pain. This post can help so many people.

Sabrina said...

I have been praying for your mom. I know she had the surgery and now the accident. God continue to bless your family.

Lauren said...

I'm so sorry that your mom was in a car accident Annie!! How horrific. I'm so glad that everything has turned out to be ok in the end.

I read Philip Yancey's book on pain last year, "Where is God When It Hurts" and the thing that still stands out to me, that I still hold on to, is that pain points us to resurrection - that this life ISN'T the end and that is the point of being a Christian in the first place - the hope we have in the resurrection. That we really aren't intended just for this life, and that in the resurrection, all of our pain and brokenness will be healed and made whole once again.

Highly, highly recommend Yancey's book by the way :).

Mommyblogger said...

This postn touched my heart. Our family has been going through what seems like "a lot" of trials & sometimes I forget that I'm not in control, he is. Thanks for posting. It really made me stop & think this morning.

Sending prayers your way.

whitney johnson said...

this was so beautifully written. and i do agree with you, that sometimes the trials and challenges we face in life can be for our good to make us stronger and bring us closer to Him. :)

Julie said...

You are so poetic in your writing. I agree with C.S. I seem to always, again, and again ask myself, during painful times, why do I only slow down and reflect than? I truly believe that we are not given more than God thinks that we can handle but sometimes that seems to be A LOT!


P.S. I am glad that your mom is doing better!

Annie said...

i love this. and i think you're right - i think pain really does make us stop and reflect on who we are in comparison to God and everything else. i think it's because otherwise we have this idea we're invincible, and pain strikes at the vulnerability we hide behind cement walls.

i'm glad to hear your mom is okay!