Day dawns. First day with a name for this condition incubating: cryptogenic organizing pneumonia. It’s been there all along brooding and we’ve been searching and here with one test it’s been found and there’s relief in finally knowing and a spilling of grief as we peer into the next nine months of hard treatment. Strange how a name can upside-down your life and I stumble into another doctors office aware that without the feeding of the Word this soul will whither dry. It’s then I read this and the jolt’s so strong I can barely breathe. I read it again to see if it really says what my heart hears.
Bilious and bloated, they gas,
“God is gone.”
Their words are poison gas,
fouling the air; they poison
Rivers and skies;
thistles are their cash crop.
God sticks his head out of heaven.
He looks around.
He’s looking for someone not stupid—
one man, even, God-expectant,
just one God-ready woman.
He comes up empty. A string
of zeros. Useless, unshepherded
Sheep, taking turns pretending
to be Shepherd.
The ninety and nine
follow their fellow.
Don’t they know anything,
all these impostors?
Don’t they know
they can’t get away with this—
Treating people like a fast-food meal
over which they’re too busy to pray?
Night is coming for them, and nightmares,
for God takes the side of victims.
Do you think you can mess
with the dreams of the poor?
You can’t, for God
makes their dreams come true.
Is there anyone around to save Israel?
Yes. God is around; God turns life around.
Turned-around Jacob skips rope,
turned-around Israel sings laughter. ~Psalm 14 (The Message)
Does He come up empty in searching for me? Am I the one God expectant, God ready? For as soon as I believe God is gone and raise the god of self instead I cease to be God expectant and the crop of my life becomes thorns and thistles. I want to be this Jacob, this Israel who’s been turned around. Who sings laughter in the face of frightening news and dull days of drudgery. Who unearths beauty in pain and follows the Shepherd instead of following self because I’ve known too many times the friends fear and anxiety who leach dry when trying to find my own way, too busy to breathe and call out for the God who is there in all of this jumbled mess.
She runs in this Help Girl, bursting through thoughts to say there’s a rainbow outside. It’s been shades of grey for days and the sun has finally peeled back the clouds and there is this glorious rainbow a reminder of the promise, a promise He whispered during the unpacking and settling in, something I dared not breathe ’till now but treasured close to the heart. This whispering of hope and new beginnings, of hidden gifts in 2014 and I had grasped it then and I grasp it again because I so quickly turn from God ready to self ready and I don’t want to forfeit it this time. They say you can’t see God and live and this is truth telling because when you have seen Peniel you cease to be the one you were.
“…for Jacob did see God face to face, and he did die- so profound a death that God gave him a new name. ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Isreal.” ~Oswald Chambers
In all the disillusionment and disappointment, grappling…the shattering of plans, the wrestling with God and not letting go until he blesses, there is transformation. He makes new, he gives a new name… a new identity. Turned around Jacob skips rope, turned around Israel sings laughter and this turned around heart is God expectant.