Wednesday, July 20, 2005

From the Hand of the Lord...

I've been rather out of commission the past couple weeks. What started as simple sinus allergies quickly progressed into a nasty, full-blown sinus infection. I'm feeling much better now, but even after 10 days of antibiotics, my ears are still stuffy and a nagging sore throat remains. With daily temperatures in the 100s and not having our normal nightly "high desert" cooling effect most nights, the constant recirculation of dry air pumping through our air conditioner isn't helping either. (I'm not looking forward to seeing this month's power bill, but am very thankful that at least we have air conditioning!)

With an overactive immune system I have a mixed blessing. While I pretty much always feel like I "have the flu," because my body is already in "attack mode," I don't tend to come down with every little bug that comes around like I did as a child. But when I do get sick, when a virus or infection or something overcomes my body's already-heightened defense system, I get really sick. That's where I've been these past couple weeks. I'm still struggling to get my feet back under me and get back to my "normal" state of "usual" not feeling good.

Unfortunately, when I get sick I also get grumpy and tend to want to have a pity party. "Lord, isn't it enough that I always feel yucky. Why do I have to cope with this on top of daily living with a chronic illness." Or, on the infertility front, this questions might come out sounding more like, "Isn't it bad enough that I have to live with the pain of Endometriosis? Why does it have to be so hard to get pregnant too?" Or, "Lord, weren't all those years trying to get pregnant enough 'testing'? Why a miscarriage once you finally allowed us to conceive?" Or, "Father, why allow us to fall so in love with this baby when you knew the birth family would end up changing their minds?"

In reading a bit of Job's story today I was convicted. "Job's wife said to him, 'Why are you trying to stay innocent? Curse God and die?'
"Job answered, 'You are talking like a foolish woman. Should we take only good things from God and not trouble?' In spite of all this Job did not sin in what he said" (Job 2:9-10, NIV).

Here was a man that was so upright, so holy before the Lord, that God Himself points out Job as "an honest and innocent man, honoring God and staying away from evil" (Job 1:8). And yet, moreover because of his innocence, Job is singled out for trials by Satan. It is interesting to note that at first God limits Satan to only take Job's "possessions" (this was one of the world's wealthiest men) but not touch his body. So in a matter of hours Job lost his entire family (except for his less-than-encouraging wife), and all his vast earthly possessions.

I am in awe to read that the deaths of all ten of his children and other incalculable monetary losses left Job saying,
"I was naked when I was born,
and I will be naked when I die.
The LORD gave these things to me,
and he has taken them away.
Praise the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).

As if all this grief wasn't enough, Satan then went back and asked permission to strike Job physically. God gave him free reign with Job's body up to (but not including) the point of death. In physical and emotional anguish unlike anything most of us will ever know, Job cursed the day of his birth and he threw many questions toward God in his utter despair, yet his core faith in God's sovereignty never wavered. In the midst of great physical anguish and in the aftermath of unspeakable emotional devastation, Job went on to endure with grace the insult and unjust judgment of "friends" who brought only condemnation.

With this example before me, who am I to demand only good from the hand of the Lord? I have such a long way to go in learning to trust God in all things. It is a comfort to realize that, like Job, my trials are limited by God's grace and I am not left at the mercy of the Destroyer who is given limitless reign to harm me. While I am discouraged and prone to self-pity, I need to remember that all me blessings come from the hand of the Lord. It is His grace that sustains me daily. In good and in bad, blessed be the name of the Lord!