Saturday, November 14, 2009

Expectations

Wanted to check in before I left on a floor retreat to Point Mugu... sounds like an exotic place, right?

Talking to Jacob on the phone a few times a week, as I sit and reflect on that, is such a huge step forward to me. It requires not just his physical strength, but his mental capacity and awareness, and the fact that his personality is returning at each step. As great as this is, and as much as I want to be content with where he is at, I am not. Every morning I have been praying for three specific situations that God has put on my heart (my brother's included), and at the end of my prayer I focus on this phrase that I pieced together:

"Lord, take the pain away. But break us in whatever necessary ways for your Kingdom."

I see this as close akin to Jesus' prayer in the garden of Gethsemene; how weird, how mind-boggling it is that Jesus, God incarnate, more in tune with God than anyone in history, still did not want to go to the cross? He was scared, was anxious (to put it mildly). He began to sweat drops of blood and cried out to God to "take this cup from me!" God, don't let this happen to me! Take the pain away! I don't want this to happen! But then in a new phrase, he says "But thy will be done."

These two phrases don't negate each other. They come out of two parts of us, both of which God wants to see. The part of us that is human, limited, small, broken, that cannot understand God and admits it. That says, "God I don't understand! God I want all this to stop! I want it to be as if this never happened!" And then there is the part of us that still wants to trust God. That wants to hold on to the hope that we are loved, and that what is happening is not happening in vain, but that good may come of it. Both of these sides of us are sides that God wants; he wants us to trust, and he wants us to be real. We are not serving him fully if we are not operating in both of these realms. Becasue if we are not being real, how can we ever offer to him what is really going on for the sake of transformation? And if we are not trusting him, we become selfish and bitter and rash.

In conversation with a friend who is struggling through the sudden death of a close family memeber, we both agreed that we would love it if God somehow walked into our doorway and said "I am real." These hard things in our lives, at least for me, produce greater endurance and faith and trust, but only as a product of intense doubt. So me and this friend agreed that in those moments, when we do not beleive that God is real, the only thing we can do to still hold on to trusting is to offer this very doubt, this very unbeleif to the God who does care and love.

Jacob's thumb infection at first hit me hard. But then I realized that this is the first piece of bad news that we have received in quite a while regarding Jake's medical condition. Maybe these small steps backward are to be expected. Jacob of course longs to make huge strides; to be back in school next semester, to hang out with his friends more, etc... but I have confidence that God will use every second of Jake's recovery to do something for His Kingdom - that God will not let this accident have happened in vain. And at the same time, I wish I could go back to June 28th and simply have told him to not go.

-Robbie (Jake's brother)

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