February 23, 2012

Permission to Rest

My Ian is a very eloquent man.  This comes from his ability to think about what he says before he says it (I'm so jealous of that).  Ian has more than once fought away the demons that haunt my mind or the worries that jump on my back with a single concise, truthful sentence.

Last night I was stressing about my health.  My miscreant, illusive physical being who refuses to be pinned down with any help or diagnosis.  I told my Ian the worst part of being so oddly ill is the thought of not only my future being affected by a chronic illness, but his future as well.  This fear comes from what I have seen for many years in my mom who has lived with a debilitating autoimmune disease most of my life.  I'm afraid of watching healthy, vibrant Ian be held back and limited because of being attached by love and marriage to my mysterious struggle.

"Ian, I'm afraid of affecting your life with my struggle."

"Cas," he replied like a mountain my puny muscles were trying to shake, "it's not up to you to decide how God grows my faith."

Wow.  Simple as that.

I sat there encouraged by his heroic heart and free from the fear that I'm going to ruin my husband's life, but convicted as well.

Convicted because it's not up to me how God challenges my faith, either.  Simple as that.

Why do I think I have any sort of control over this life that I, in theory, have handed over to God?  And why do I think that my opinion of the situation matters so much that I'm going to sit there and stew over it until God (you know, GOD, Creator, All powerful and Supreme) bends to my will and changes the circumstance?  Because obviously I know what's best, and I judge this by an omnipotent comfort scale that is always ticking in my head, right?

Ten years ago when my brother died, I realized that I had to lose whatever negative opinion I had towards God about my brother's death or I was not going to mentally survive it.  I had some giving up to do because there wasn't enough space in my being for the god of my feelings and the God of the Universe (which is always how it goes, you know).  I knew that it came down to His absolute right to do whatever he pleased in my life and my brother's.  It had to be, "Yes, God, I accept this situation- not because I want to but because you are God and I am not.  I have already, before I got here, given my life and all it's parts to you who loves me.  These things are non-negotiable and though I am wounded, I refuse to blame you or fight you."

I definitely would not have chosen to grow my faith by losing my brother, but God did.  And somehow He turned surviving into thriving.  Somehow He turns ashes into beauty.  Somehow I have walked forward from that situation better and stronger.  I have no idea how He did it, but if I perfectly understood God, He really wouldn't be any "God" at all and we really wouldn't be talking about faith at all.

If your God is demanding, impersonal and aloof, then the thought of giving up your rights and opinions in order to go along with whatever He wants is insane and scary.  Kinda like marrying someone you don't know (have you ever had a dream that you did that?  Worst nightmare ever).

But if your God is near you, loving you, full of grace, working all things not only for your GOOD but because He knows the wisest thing that needs to happen ("Cas, you're brother must come home though He is young.  It is the wisest, best thing"), then in giving up your rights and opinions to a God like that you will find so much more than what you have given up.

And it's true, because I've tested it and it works.  I'm testing it right now.  And you know what?  Rest truly comes.  Not because I used my mind to figure out the universe and demand an explanation from God so that I can justify the pain in my life, but because in God I don't NEED to figure it all out... I pretty much just need Him.  And that's how the deal goes with Him: when God's children give their lives to Him, God gives to His children the permission to rest.

Psalm 131
The Message Bible

"God, I'm not trying to rule the roost,
I don't want to be king of the mountain.
I haven't meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans.

I've kept my feet on the ground,
I've cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in it's mother's arms,
My soul is a baby content.

Wait, Israel, for God.  Wait with hope.
Hope now.
Hope always!"

1 comment:

Audria said...

Cas, this is so insanely beautiful. Thank you for this. I am so incredibly blessed by you. I love you dear heart.