God's Response When We Feel He's Not Safe

9:52 AMHeather

If you read my post on Friday, then you know I sorta had a bit of a hissy fit with God, letting him know that he didn't feel safe to me.  Realizing that I don't completely trust him.  

This was all brought to light last week while reading Christine Caine's book Undaunted.  I realized that I've been in a bit of a stuck place spiritually and emotionally.  Literally, I've been stuck with a season of waiting.  And the emotional and spiritual toll of it has left me feeling just plain stuck in general.  I might read a verse one day or hear a song that encourages me and gives me traction.  And I think that I'm doing better and I'm okay with it all.  Then the next day, the same feelings of frustration and frenzy begin crowding back in.  

So, last Friday, I finally admitted to God through my prayer journal that I feel stuck because he doesn't feel safe. I want my feelings to match my head knowledge about who he is and who I want to be through him.  But they just don't.  My head and my heart are in a bit of a battle here.

Having gotten it off my chest and then publicly admitting it here on this blog, I did feel better.  You know, like when something is bugging you about a friend or spouse or family member and you finally just throw it out there.  

Not to say that it was all better and boom!  All was right with the world.  But, at least I felt some traction.  Felt like my ability to be real and honest and raw was a turning point.  In fact, as I drove to church yesterday morning, I thought about how many times in my life I finally turned a corner when I got honest with God.  My mind wandered to these times and I scolded myself for my amnesia.  

Why do I forget such things?  Why don't I learn that being honest with God and letting him really know how I feel has always been a point where I find new footholds in my faith.  A place where walls are broken down and the struggle dies down.

Just to be clear, I did not hear an audible voice and my concerns were not all immediately resolved.  I'm still in a season of waiting.  The circumstances have not changed.  Yet, somehow, since my Friday prayer session with my journal in hand, I've felt a load off my shoulders. I've felt a sense of peace and intimacy because I had admitted what God already knew to be true about me.

And then.  There it was.  

Not an audible voice, but just about.  

It blew my mind and I couldn't wait to tell you all about it.  I just hope that I can do justice to conveying the significance of it.  Because I know I'm not the only one who may be feeling that God is not safe, for whatever reason in your life.  

He spoke to that clearly last night.  He responded.  And I want you to listen in because it's for you, too.

I climbed into bed early last night, worn out from weeks of not getting sufficient sleep.  I was tempted to turn on the television but quickly talked myself out of it.  So, I snuggled under my covers with my nightly cup of hot tea, and grabbed my iPad to dive back into that darn book Undaunted.  I was reading chapter 5, titled "Heartbreak -- or Breakthrough?"  Bless my soul, Christine Caine is telling about her miscarriage in that chapter.  She goes into detail about going for a sonogram and suddenly being stunned with the bad news.  

Oh yeah.  Been there, done that.  Mentally, I began throwing my own experience with a miscarriage onto my pile of reasons why God doesn't feel safe.  Tell him, Christine.  Yeah, you tell God it doesn't feel fair when dreams and hopes die.  I read on to the section entitled "The Big Deal of Disappointment."  Oh, this author is singing my song.  

"Your head tells you God is trustworthy -- but in a moment of aching disappointment, your heart tells you he's not even there."

That'll preach.  That sums up eloquently how I'm currently wrestling with trusting God.  So, when the chapter moves into "God's Promises in Disappointment," I was fully engaged.  Alrighty.  Throw me a lifeline here, Mrs. Caine.  

Except she starts talking about Job and all the horrible things that happened to him and how "never, in the entire story, did God find it necessary to explain himself...just because we do not understand these things [that happen to us] doesn't mean we must stop trusting God, who has proven again and again that he loves us...that is why faith says, along with Job, 'though he slay me, yet will I hope in him' (Job 13:15)."  

Ouch.  But yet that resonates with the truth that has been hitting me that faith is not a feeling. Instead, it's a choice.  Like I choose to invest in my marriage and my children and my relationships because of my commitment to them, not because of how I might feel at that moment.  How can I give any less to God? What will my choice be?  Remember all the ways he loves me or give into grudges from hard places I've walked?

And then...wait for it.  The ace in the hole.  The slam dunk.  The nearly audible response from God to my admission that he doesn't feel safe.

Christine Caine pulls out the one passage in the Bible that had the most impact in this moment, in this season of my life, and in the context of her chapter about her miscarriage.  The ONE passage that underlines and highlights and screams out for my attention.

Luke 24:13-35.  The story of the two disciples as they leave Jerusalem three days after Jesus was crucified.  They are down trodden, on the way to Emmaus.  They were disappointed and all that they had expected to happen -- the good that they anticipated -- had come crashing down.  I think in that moment, God didn't feel safe.  I think in that moment, they felt like I admitted on Friday that I feel.  Sucker punched. Waiting for the next cruel cosmic joke.  

Suddenly, a man walks up and asks what they are talking about.  He joins them along this hard road of disappointment and sadness and frustration.  The two men are so engaged with this stranger that they want him to stay and eat with them when they reach Emmaus.  And it was only when the man broke the bread over dinner that their eyes were open and they saw that Jesus himself had been walking right with them through that walk of disappointment.

Boo-yah! 

And do you want to know WHY it was mind-blowing that out of all the stories in the Bible, the fact that Christine Caine chose this one and I was reading it when I was and it was all in the context of her own miscarriage is HUGE to me?  So big, in fact, that I teared up and thought, "OH my!  I have GOT to make this the sequel to my Eeyore blog post from Friday."

I'll tell you why.

In the summer of 1998, I was finally pregnant again.  Nearly a year after my miscarriage.  I was cautious and hopeful and scared and excited, all at the same time.  Because of my past experience, my new doctor had ordered blood work to confirm my hormone levels. To prove that my HCG, or pregnancy hormones, were on track.  To reassure me.

I distinctly remember walking into my office at the adoption agency and hearing my phone ring.  I grabbed it quickly and discovered it was the nurse from my doctor's office.  I can still recall her rather factual statement that my HCG was dangerously low and it seemed inevitable that I was going to miscarry again.  

In response to my sputtering questions, she advised that I get more blood work and she offered to put a rush on it.  If my HCG was increasing, as it should daily, then there was still hope.  I could go do the blood work immediately and know by the end of the day.

I must have called my husband and blubbered incoherently over the phone.  I honestly don't recall the thirty minute drive to the lab or even going there at all.  I just remember collapsing in a puddle on my bed and Chris rushing in from work to join me in our day long vigil.  I remember calling my sister, and hearing her wisdom.  

She challenged me to remember that this pregnancy was out of my hands and God had a plan.  She prayed over the phone with me and advised me to surrender.  Already a mom (who had endured a miscarriage also), she reminded me that mothering as a believer in Jesus means surrendering our kids to God's plans from minute one.  

Completely worn out, I fell back on my pillows and grabbed my Bible like my life depended on it.  Because I basically thought it did.  I prayed, "Okay God. Make me turn to something that means something right now.  Speak to me."

And my Bible flipped to Luke 24:13-35.  

I read the whole passage and thought, "Great.  What does two guys walking down a road when a stranger appears have to do with this situation where I'm told I'm going to miscarry again?  That plot line sounds like some joke -- two guys are walking down a road...."  

I sat there, confused.  And asked again and again for some clarity.  

Then it came.  Just as Jesus was walking through pain with these two men and they never saw him, he was walking with me.  I felt as though he wasn't there and I was all alone.  But just because I didn't SEE him in my circumstance and I was blinded by my own grief and disappointment, it didn't mean he wasn't walking right along with me.  

Then, I felt an inexplicable peace.  I had very little hope for a good outcome, but yet I felt a tiny grip of encouragement.  At least I wasn't alone.

Despite the fact that I had been hysterically crying and was on pins and needles, I fell into a very deep and peaceful sleep. As I drifted off, I remember thinking, "Okay, I'm not alone."

I awoke about three hours later to the phone ringing.  It was the nurse.  My stomach clenched and I felt my heart race.  I braced myself.

This is what she said, "I am calling with your results.  Listen, I'm not really sure what has happened.  I really don't understand it myself..."

I prepared for the worst.

"...because your HCG levels initially were really not even compatible with a viable pregnancy.  Today's bloodwork shows that your levels have actually not just doubled as we would expect, but they have tripled.  Everything looks good.  The doctor wants to see you for your planned appointment this next week."

If Nurse Kay, had been in the room, I think I would've kissed her cheek like a crazy woman.

I told her that I knew that happened -- because I'd been praying and my prayers had been answered.

And Jesus showed up on my little road to Emmaus.  I walked out from a place of disappointment, thinking death had won and nothing but pain awaited me. 

Yet Jesus walked each step with me.  

Do you want to know the end result?

My first born.  Collin Evan.  Born ON his due date.  Perfectly healthy.

Wow, talk about amnesia.  I have been sitting around licking my wounds feeling that God is not safe and remembering all the dark places I've walked and all the hopes I've had for where things might be right now.  

Funny.  In all that rehashing history, I had forgotten THIS story. I had forgotten when I dodged a bullet, so to speak.  When God showed up in the midst of my panic and fear and said that his plans would not be thwarted.  When I was prepared for the worst and basically cursing God.  

That time when he wrapped up his goodness in a tiny little bundle that is a living breathing miracle every day of my life.  A miracle that I can so quickly forget.

But, through God's impeccable timing and planning, he reminded me. Sixteen years later, he reminded me. 

He used a book by Christine Caine that is challenging me to face what feels daunting so that I can break into the freedom of being undaunted.

And he responded to my feelings and fears and questions and doubts.

He says keep walking the road. 

 
Keep taking a step forward.  One step at a time.  Keep questioning and grieving and expressing even your biggest anger and deepest doubts.

And even if you don't see me.  Even if you don't hear me.  Even if you feel I couldn't be farther away. 

I'm right beside you. 

You may not see it until your road ends.  You may not realize it until the crisis passes.  You may not FEEL it. You may feel alone and abandoned and just plain ticked off.

But, I'm walking every single dusty, dirty painful step with you.

THAT, my bloggy friends, is God's response when we feel he's not safe.  

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