In this place again...

Once again, life deals out justice like a drunk couselor giving advice. On Thursday night I received a call that a good friend was in a diving accident in Mexico. His name is Josh Buck and he is part of our church planting cluster (Impact, Greenhouse, Epic, Cession). He is a co-pastor at Greenhouse and has been coming over to lead worship at Impact once a month to give me a breather and to partner with our ministry. He is a man of great joy, optimism and strength. And right now he's laying in a bed paralyzed, comatose and far, far from home in Miami, Fl.

I feel powerless to do anything...a feeling that accompanied me for some time during the death of my good friend this last spring after a year of battling cancer. I realize Josh is far from dead, but he has brushed up against death. My stomach is tight with doubt. My mind struggling to tie up loose ends of confusion and compassion. My heart aching with sympathy and love. I have seen too much heartache this past year...I've carried some myself...and at times I feel stunned, immobilized.

My heart does funny things inside me during these times. I'll be trying to carry on, and it will pester me. I felt it yesterday as I prepared for the Worship Night here at Impact...I was trying to care for the logistics of the evening, but something inside of me was nagging me with thoughts of depression and indifference. I sat on a bar stool just staring off into the back corner of the building like I was waiting for someone to speak out of the wall. I would start with a logical thought and drift to a place beyond words...the world in between reality and dreams.

I don't know whether to get angry at God, myself or life...but I want to take my vengeance out on something or someone. I find it hard to let the blame for these sort of things stay suspended in the realm of standby. I want to find a place to direct the angst...to pin it to the source of this horrible circumstance. When my heart has run itself into exhaustion (mind you, it's the marathon in the marrow), I callapse into a place of sadness, forlorn and fed up.

All I know is that I've frequented this place before, my heart reminds me of this often. It triggers emotions that have been covered over with life and surfaces forgotten feelings and frustrations. I want God to heal Josh, worse than bad. I want for this to have a happy ending. In some ways, I need for this to have a happy ending. But I've prayed prayers before that didn't find an answer...worse yet, the answer was, "No...I'm going to do the opposite." I'm not sure which is worse.

I get scared to pray in these times...I want to believe that my prayers could alter this situation for the better, but I'm so nervous that I'll cry out only to be disregarded and left to feel powerless and godless. So what do I do? Pray like there is no tomorrow knowing that when tomorrow comes, my soul will demand an answer for what did or did not happen? I guess so. I just wish I had more faith in God during times like this.

I prayed for God to heal my daughter's body...it didn't happen.
I prayed for God to heal Jen Palmer's cancer...it didn't happen.
I prayed for God to heal Mark Palmer's cancer...it didn't happen.

I'm not sure how much more unanswered prayer I can take. I know, he answered, just not the way I asked. Somehow, that little Evengelical mantra just doesn't seem to bring much solace to this heart in need of a miracle.

When the man came to Jesus with leprosy, I'm sure it would have left him jaded if Jesus saw fit to simply clip his finger nails. When I pray for Josh to regain mobility and the capacity to run and play with his family...somehow settling for slight movement in his fingers just doesn't seem to bring me that much joy. I'm being thrown a bone when I prayed for a steak...I'm just being honest.

I'm in this place again...a place of mixed emotions and tender scare tissue. And yet, all I can do is pray. Isn't that funny.

Comments

This rips the covering flesh from the surface of old/submerged wounds ... and I hurt with you.
mama2dibs said…
Thank you. I don't knw how many times I go through life feeling these exact feelings which lead me to feelings of not being a good enough Christian...because that HAS to be why God won't answer my prayers in the affirmative. Anyway, thank you that I know that I'm not alone. I have a very great respect for you, as I know my dad has, and I appreciate you being vulnerable and letting people like me know that...we're not alone.
Mandy said…
I don't know you at all, but your words are resonating with me on all of this... I'm in a season of heartache right now and it seems it's plaguing many more than just myself. Your words about unanswered/answered prayer are so right--it doesn't offer much solace to know God's answer is different than what we've asked for. It's hard to pray in times like these.

Anyway, thank you.
pianoman said…
my heart aches for you brother...

you can borrow mine when your hope is gone...

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