I knew I was in trouble when I rolled over.
Because when I rolled over at around 5:00 this morning, the whole room rolled over with me and I was slammed with a pounding headache and upset stomach. And a big ol’ knot in my chest.
I dragged myself out of bed and to my desk to start the day, but ended up dragging myself to my recliner and trying to sleep some more. No Go. After an hour or so, I moved back to my desk to send my routine early morning work emails–letting everyone know what teleconferences are on tap for today. That’s when I remembered:
I have a 5 hour teleconference this afternoon. Noon-5:00. During which I must take detailed notes. Ugh.
I think I’ll be able to do it, because as long as I don’t move, I can tough it out. I can sit here and type this out, but when I look across the room–wow–everything spins and tips. I wonder if this is what vertigo is like? I don’t know, I’ve never had it before.
If you’ve read any of my Facebook posts this week, you know we had a difficult time with Beth’s surgery. She really was rough there for a few days. She is SO much better now. Finally sleeping through the night, even eating a few bites of ramen, mac and cheese, jello. She still can’t talk very well, but she’s moved herself from the percocet to tylenol and is doing very well. She will be ready to return to school Monday. The most miraculous thing about her surgery, like I thought it would be, is her newfound ability to breathe. It’s amazing. Once she’s able to speak again, I wonder if it will change her voice.
But I honestly feel completely defeated this morning. Do you ever feel that way? Like hope is absence, like just the circumstances of life here on this earth–sicknesses, bills, broken vehicles, divorces, deaths of loved ones, loss of employment–threaten to become a tidal wave that swallows us up, leaving no trace behind that we were even ever here.
My discouragement is deep today. And on the days that discouragement is deep, it seems that doubt is even deeper. I’m listening to my Spotify Worship Play List in the background and just about every song I hear myself saying “Yes, but is that truth?” “Does God see and know?” “Does He forgive, even me?” “Is God bigger than fear?”
So, in a few words, I am very goofed up today. I had prayed for a solid night of sleep, and instead it was a short night with being awake from midnight to about 2:00, then up at 5:00. And of course, I question why would God not answer the simple prayer for sleep? If he gives sleep to his beloved (Psalm 127:2), does He not love me? I know He must, there are evidences all around me. But in the middle of the night, it’s amazing how stirred up one’s mind can get.
I’ve just begun studying James, in preparation to teach it this Summer to the ladies at our church. (you can take a look at the commentary I’m using HERE-it’s been very helpful alongside scripture) I’m only a couple of verses into the first chapter, and I’ve already written several pages of very personal notes–documents that are closed. But I want to share with you the first few verses, because I think they apply here to where I’m at, and maybe to where you are at as well today:
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways
Let’s look at this closer. “Count it all joy, my brothers (and sisters!), when you meet trials of various kinds.” Count it as joy—number it as joy. Count what as joy? The meeting of trials of various kinds. Wow. I certainly have not been able to say today that I will be joyful in this sickness, in the bills, in the lack of sleep, in the long teleconference I have this afternoon. I’ve not counted it joy that it is spring break and I’ve not been able to do anything fun for my crew. But this says it should all be counted as joy–various trials. I’ve had much more difficult trials than the trials of this week. But the trials of this week are dragging me down right now, creating doubt and fear.
The second part of the passage reads “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness–and let that steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
But why must our faith be tested? Taking a test is no fun. Being tested is no fun. I was recently traveling from ATL to Warner Robins, GA, and during the drive I was “tested” on the Air Force acronyms–and I failed miserably. But what I see in what James is saying, is that we should welcome these trials with joy because such testing produces steadfastness.
When I look at it that way, and when I consider that the words are truth, I know that what I desire is steadfastness. I desire the kind of faith that remains rock solid throughout life on this earth, no matter what trials may come. Why do I want to be steadfast? Because I want the following in my life: Firm in purpose, unwavering, eyes fixed forward.