I'm a control freak. I am a fan of lists and schedules. Details are my friends. I like my calendar to be color-coordinated, and my shoes to always match my outfit. I pick out my kids' clothes for school, make a dinner menu for each week, and write a to-do list on my mirror with a dry erase marker. I would like my house to be tidy, but the reality of 3 little boys has changed that to "managebly messy." For the most part, chaos and calamity can take a hike as far as I'm concerned.
Knowing this about myself goes a long way in explaining something I am currently wrestling with. It goes without saying that my life has been turned upside down this year. Cancer waltzed right in and stole so much from me--my dignity, my hair, my stamina, my self esteem. I have fought hard, though, to preserve the things that are truly important: my character, my love, and especially my faith. No doubt that as I've walked this road--even though I absolutely did NOT want to--God has walked right alongside me. I have been helped and held by his hands. I have seen him, felt him, and heard him.
There have been times, though, when it seems that he has been silent. Days when I strained to hear his voice, and there was nothing. Times of darkness when I needed a touch from my Father, yet felt nothing. I look for him, but can only wonder, "Where is God?"
I wondered last Thursday while I sat in a chair watching toxic drugs drip into a vein in my arm. A very sick (and seemingly odd) old woman stared at me for 30 minutes while I did anything and everything to keep from meeting her gaze. "Where are you right now, Lord?"
I wondered yesterday when I made the connection that the little boy that Goliath had invited for a sleepover was the same classmate who three years ago found his father near death after he tried to commit suicide in their home. "Where were you then, Lord?"
I wondered this morning, knowing that my mother was having to explain to a group of 1st graders that their Sunday School teacher dropped dead from a heart attack on Friday night. "Where are you today, Lord?"
I am wondering tonight, even as I write this, while my cousin is keeping vigil in a hospital room beside the bed of her 3-year-old daughter, whose sudden and unexplained neuromuscular disorder may forever change their family. "Where are you tonight, Lord?"
Each of these instances brings to reality the very thing I fear: not being in charge. There is no way to tell you how much I wish cancer had never happened to me. I can't put words to the fierce tenderness and protection I felt for Goliath's friend. I can't show you the tears I cried for children I don't even know or express how seriously angry I felt when I told God, "It's not fair!", all the while asking him to heal little Ellia.
"I like control. I like to know where God is going, exactly what he is doing, the exact route of how we are getting there, and exactly when we will arrive. I also like to remind God of his need to behave in ways that fit with my clear ideas of him. For example, God is just merciful, good, wise, loving. The problem, then, is that God is beyond the grasp of every concept I have of him. He is utterly incomprehensible." --Peter Scazzero
But maybe the blessing is hiding within the "problem." God doesn't have to be bundled into a neat little box. He is God, after all. Perhaps I should spend less time waiting for him to work and move within the confines of what I want him to do and be, and start watching for him to work and move in ways that I would never expect. I don't have to understand everything; I only have to trust in his goodness.
"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14