In October, a friend and I both got pneumonia - she about 2 weeks before me (hence no new devotionals for awhile) This lady has the gift of helps and is one of the kindest people I know, always generous and giving - and a very dear, close friend.
After a few weeks and several antibiotics, she was still very sick, and the pain in her back, which initially had driven her to seek medical help, had not diminished. She was sent for consults and a myriad of tests, then finally for an MRI.
About a year ago, she and her husband had both had lapbands inserted, a procedure that, while reversible, decreases the size of the stomach to lose weight. Unfortunately, they had trusted a yahoo of a doctor, and her husband almost died of an infection from his terrible technique. We thought she was OK.
The MRI showed that the lapband had eroded into her stomach. Gastric juices had been leaking into her belly, causing an infection of the inside of the belly, widespread. Because of the initial doctor's reputation in the medical community, she had a difficult time finding a doctor who would treat her - the lapband obviously had to be removed, the stomach repaired and her peritonitis treated.
This was very serious. Every day increased the damage caused by the erosion. And the danger to her life.
The doc they found "worked her in" a week later, and waited yet another week to operate.
I was furious.
Not normally an angry person, I found myself horribly angry with the doctor, her husband, the world and anything in it. I fumed and fussed internally day after day.
The surgery finally occurred the day before Thanksgiving.
By the next day her temperature was 102, her pulse fast, her breathing labored. My anger increased with the worry.
Of course all this time I had been praying, passing it on to prayer groups all over.
But I was still angry, and didn't know what to do with it. She seemed to be getting sicker by the minute and I was so angry it brought me to tears.
That day and into the night I spent much time praying. Every time I thought of her, I prayed. And that night as I lay in bed, I kept praying.
Then God spoke to me.
"Do you trust me?"
"Of course I trust you"
"Don't you think I am bigger than her infection?"
"Of course! That was never the question!"
Quietly, "Well then?"
The swift kick in the pants I had needed showed me I was concentrating on the problem, not the Person in charge Who, as much as I hated to admit it, had allowed this thing to befall her for eternal reasons - perhaps something to do with her walk, certainly something to do with mine.
Who was I to get angry over something He had allowed? My personal sense of right and wrong had been offended. I wanted it put right. Now.
But Jesus had something else in mind. He wanted me to learn that, even as He had carefully taught me to leave everything He allowed in my own life in His hands, I was to realize that that also applied to those I loved. And while I could and did pray for those I loved, I was to trust Him with the outcome, and take any fallout emotions of worry (or anger) to His throne. And leave them there - repeatedly, if necessary.
Could I do that?
I'd like to say, as I had said so many times to the Lord, "Of course," but truthfully, it took some time - to think over just where I had gone wrong and to, finally, confess my lack of trust and ask for forgiveness. I had certainly been walking in the flesh, letting my "natural" reactions take the place of my spiritual walk. He showed me that at the first swelling of anger I should have come to Him - with the anger. Instead I had let it enter me, and kept feeding it for the whole time. I should have been praying and trusting Him to do the perfect thing and thanking Him for controlling the situation.
I'm sharing this because, at least for me, it is so easy to slip into the human ways of thinking - to worry, to carry anger deep in our hearts ( and I mean deep), to handle things in our own strength, to pray without listening for feedback ( which I do all too often). Finally He had to forcefully enter my thoughts to get my attention.
Prayer needs to be a two-way communication. We need to listen.
And if you have never heard the Lord before, I want to tell you that it is no great echoing voice as Charlton Heston portrayed it. It is words you hear in your head, with your own voice, only the thoughts are certainly nothing that you would begin to think to say to yourself. The words often convict or correct, sometimes to speak comfort in a time of need, sometimes to, lovingly, as He did with me, kick you in the pants and screw your head on straight.
Perhaps by my sharing my easily-led-astray heart with you, it will help you to avoid the same pitfalls, and to remind you that, in all things, He is to be trusted. Just because we can't understand why something bad happens to good people, it is no excuse for a lack of trust. He is either Lord of your life, or you are. There is no in-between spot you can cling to, no balancing-on-the-fence act that you can tolerate for long.
And if you are busy being Lord of your own life - well then, you need a swift kick in the pants.
PS The morning after Jesus straightened me out, her temperature came down, her breathing returned to normal, and she felt much better. In fact, she was discharged the next day.
We serve an Awesome God.