I think I’m bitter. No, that’s not a typo; I really do think so. I’ve felt better in the last few days. I’ve even begun to hope that I might be able to get off my medications in the spring. But when I talk to God there’s still that unspoken accusation at the back of my mind. I think “Sure, things are better now. But I’m still angry with you”. I just read an article by someone who is also going through tough times, and he ended with:
“Instead, in the midst of pain and hurt, I am actively expecting God to do something. I don’t know what. I don’t know when. But I am expecting the God of resurrection to heal us. I am expecting God to restore us. I am expecting him to redeem this situation. I am expecting him to do this and so I will be actively looking and waiting for him to do something.”
I thought: “don’t hold your breath”. For as long as I can remember, I’ve never dealt with any tough situation by expecting God to do something about it. Once I understood that he wouldn’t keep me from suffering, I found that if you don’t expect him to end it, you’re less disappointed if he doesn’t. I’ve never understood the role of faith in this. Faith, for me, is believing that regardless of what he sends me, God has my best interests at heart, that even if he leads me through the valley of the shadow of death as the psalm says he will be leading me. He won’t leave me to fend for myself. I might not like the terrain, but I’ve accepted that he chooses the road. I can either follow him, or go out on my own. The idea that he’s going to change directions, or that he’ll eventually lead me out of it is unfounded. I don’t let myself think it, because if I do, and he doesn’t do what I expect him to do, I’ll start to wonder if he exists. (Rightly so, of course, because there doesn’t exist a god in the universe who takes orders from me). Yet, sometimes, people talk about faith as if it means God has any intention of leading us out of the valley sometime in this life. He might, and I hope so, but I don’t expect it.
That must be the source of my anger, I think. Because if God won’t lead us out of the valley, it’s because he wants us there for some reason and my mind can’t handle that. So I’m angry that he wants me there. I don’t know his reasons, and he’s God so they must be good reasons, but it’s hard to agree with his choices when you don’t know those reasons. You just follow along and simmer quietly and you keep simmering until you get over it somehow. It’s a stupid reaction because (a) you know you’re wrong and God is always right and (b) Being angry with him probably counts as rebellion on some level but you can’t help how you feel. My technique is “Of course I’ll follow you, but I’ll let you know the whole time that I don’t like this even a little bit”.
It’s crest and trough, up and down, summer, then winter with only the tiniest sliver of fall in-between. Each time I think the valley might be ending, we hit another trough. I think the troughs might be getting less deep, but it’s hard to tell. I’m blind, you see, so for all I know we’re going in circles. But still, he’s my friend so I can forgive him – right up till I break. Some people break, you know, although I don’t see how. Perhaps they get so hurt and so angry that they start hating God. I can’t see how it could be their fault, but I hope that never happens to me.
Dear God, I asked you to be my friend years ago. I want us to remain friends. Please don’t take me so far that I can’t love you any more.