Tuesday, May 14, 2013

for when you don't see God

Psalm 124
"If the LORD had not been on our side--
let Israel say--
if the LORD had not been on our side
when men attacked us,
when their anger flared against us,
they would have swallowed us alive;
the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
would have swept us away.
Praise be to the LORD,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
out of the fowler's snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth."

When things go wrong, it's easy to look around and ask, "Where is God?" I know that I've had lots of those moments in my life, times when everything was going wrong (or at least, not according to my plans) and I felt abandoned. In the middle of the bad stuff, it's hard to get a different perspective--kind of like only seeing the waves when you're in the middle of the raging storm at sea. Looking at the waves, you miss out on the fact that those waves--though terrible in their own right--may have beaten you up, but they pushed you away from the rocks on which you would have been dashed to pieces.

Looking back now, I can see God's protection in the midst of the storms. If Nathan had gone to flight school, we would have been two kids with no insurance when he started having kidney pain and most likely we wouldn't have gotten his diagnosis. Not to forget that he probably wouldn't have been able to pass the flight physical once he finally had a diagnosis...And when we were in the middle of the year it took the Coast Guard doctors to diagnose his LPHS and thin basement membrane disease
when so many were accusing him of "faking it" to get out of the military
when we were both in a dark place that threatened to overwhelm us with dipression
we found a place working with a youth group and were reminded that God takes care of His people.

When my brother was killed, it would have been easy--and understandable--for our family to fall apart. The common thought seems to be that if we just pray hard enough, truly believe, there's no way anything bad will happen to the person we are praying for. We are told to just have faith, with the implication of that statement being that if something bad happens we simply weren't
praying/believing/faithful enough. I come from a praying family, with lots of praying friends, and I know without a doubt that there wasn't a day that went by while Michael was in Iraq that he didn't have people praying for his safety. In fact, I know without a doubt that we prayed for him the day he was killed because we had a family birthday get together that day.

It would have been easy for his death to destroy the faith of all those who loved him and had been praying.

Instead, people from all over who had known Michael were strengthened. Our faith was shaken, without a doubt, but sometimes you don't realize the strength of your foundation until you're shaken and you see everything else crumble--except that foundation.

When I didn't make it into grad school in 2011, that could have been the end. Instead I got to teach for a year and met some wonderful people and amazing kids, then I came up to Ohio a year later to start grad school with a great group of people--some of whom I wouldn't have made it through this first year without (and seriously, can you believe my first year of grad school is done? I sure can't!).

There are more, but this is getting pretty long already. In the middle of those times, I know that it was really hard to see God's hands around me, protecting me. Now, though, i can honestly say with the psalmist:
"If the LORD had not been on our side...
the flood would have engulfed us, 
the torrent would have swept over us, 
the raging waters would have swept us away."

1 comment:

Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy