I am writing this update around 5:00 Friday morning due to lack of sleep caused by headache caused by stress caused by circumstances caused by God's intervening in our daily lives. What a convoluted way of giving God the credit for bringing us closer to Him! I have prayed regularly for years that God would use my family for His glory, that He would use my children and myself and Chad in His service, that He would do whatever He thought best for our future in order to draw us closer to Himself. Then, when He does just that, I pray for Him to fix the problem so that we will have worry-free, stress-free lives! Somewhere, I got something mixed up........!
I came to this realization sometime around 4:30 this morning, having prayed once again for God's healing for Dale. I used the same words I have prayed before, asking God to heal Dale once and for all, if that be His will; on the heels of that request, I then reiterated my desire for God to get the most glory through this trial, even if that means that Dale has to continue to struggle with daily tasks and shakiness and even never fully recuperate from his accident in order to live a normal life. I was struck once again with the knowledge that I want Dale to be healthy and whole for his sake---so he can be a regular teenager with goals and dreams and abilities---but also for my sake so that I don't have to worry about him any more and so that I will not be inconvenienced by the need to take extra care of him. That sounds incredibly selfish, doesn't it? I admit, I want my life to return to its normal, self-centered, "I want God to use me but not at my inconvenience" state of being. I pray and pray---just words, I suppose---that God will use my family and then gripe and moan when He does. In kind words, I did not know what I was asking for. In reality, I wanted the feeling of being useful to Him without the necessary trial by fire. At some point, I will arrive at that much-coveted plateau of my walk with God where I thank Him incessantly for simply allowing me to be part of His plan, regardless of the personal cost. After all, Jesus paid the ultimate price for me; the least I can do is give Him my all in return. Realistically speaking, though, I am nowhere near that level of willingness or sincere devotion. I love my Lord and have always wanted Him to use me; I simply had no idea that this was how He intended to do that. Have you ever heard a preacher say that God has to break you before He can truly use you? I always thought that I could convince God to use me without going through any hardships, as if I in any way deserved to skip the trials and still reap the benefits of service to Him by my "much speaking." When I think of those who have given God free reign in their lives and have willingly served Him despite the daily cost---the Apostle Paul, J. Hudson Taylor, Dr. Tom Williams, etc., I am humbled and ashamed to think that I consider myself better than they. I think God should grant me His protection against all tribulation just because I ask Him with a (semi)sincere heart, yet they gave all for Him. Frankly, I am a worm. I deserve hell, not just for my sins before the cross but after it as well. There are times when I am truly thankful for God's obvious hand in Dale's life, starting with the accident and moving forward. But most of the time, I just wish it would all go away and revert back to normal. In the end, though, my prayer remains the same: "Lord, I want You to use me and my family. I know You could heal Dale instantly today, right now. But, if You will get the greater glory by his continued struggle, then let him struggle. If we will be closer to You by our daily necessitated dependence on You for strength, then please don't heal him yet. If You can use us to greater purpose through allowing Dale to take years to overcome obstacles brought on by his traumatic brain injury, so be it. We truly want Your will to be done."
Have you noticed something throughout my ramblings? I have never wavered from the belief that God is using us through this. I have never doubted that this hardship is from God and for a purpose. Please, don't misunderstand me---I am not patting myself on the back or tooting my own horn. I simply fully believe that God has a reason for this trial; this is all part of His divine design. What a welcome comfort to realize that I trust Him fully even as I beg for relief from the burden. I would not dare to place myself in the same class as Job with his trials or Paul with his stonings and eventual martyrdom, but I do hold them up as inspiration to myself to keep going when it seems impossible to take one more step. God gives us so many blessings daily that are easy to overlook because they are not the "big" answer to my prayers: Dale's full healing. Yet I know He loves me and my family and knows exactly what we need when we need it, whether it be sighting a rainbow one day or Dale improving a small step another day. He is a most loving Father and gracious, compassionate to the end. He will always be so, even when I throw a temper tantrum about my inconveniences. Isn't He wonderful?
Psalm 104: 31, 33, 34 "The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in His works. I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of Him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD."