Today at the park I was talking with two mamma friends and we were discussing our lack of time for reading the Bible and prayer. I mentioned that I am still struggling with forgiving God for what happened to Grace. That's not something I normally say out loud. Actually, its not even something I allow myself to think about. But once I said it out loud I realized that is exactly how I feel. And I feel so guilty for feeling that way, I avoid God even more.
I really appreciated my friend's advice. She said it's ok to feel that way. She said that God has made our relationship with him mirror marriage. She said that when we have a bad day with our spouse, we don't quit. When we have a difficult week, we stay in the marriage. Even if it's weeks or even a year of disconnect, we continue doing the right things, and in time (if there aren't any hidden/serious issues) the marriage will work itself out. After 14 years of being married, I know this advice is true.
I don't hear God when I pray. I don't feel him when I worship. I am uninspired by his Word. But I'm still here, doing the right things, waiting for the relationship to work itself out. I think that's the more true definition of love. Love isn't just what we feel like doing. Love is what we do when we don't feel anything.
And I think that's faith too. Trusting God when there are no feelings.
Today I was thinking a lot about cancer as we were driving to a Michael Hoefflin mini-golf event. I was thinking about Grace's cancer free carnival. I was wondering why I decided to have it now instead of next year. In all honesty, I think about the possibility of Grace relapsing almost every day. I want to celebrate her cancer free, but I don't have the feelings of excitement or even thankfulness.
I think I wanted to have the party now, because if she relapsed, then we wouldn't be able to have the party for a long time. I wanted to make sure it happened in case anything bad happened. I am so terrified of the chance of relapse that I refuse to think about it. It sits like a quietly simmering pot, hot enough to scald, but not hot enough to boil over. When it simmers, it can sit there for a long time and be ignored. That's what I've been doing. Feeling the heat, but refusing to figure out the real problem.
The real problem is I worry that if Grace relapsed, that I wouldn't be strong enough to handle it a second time. That my faith would give out. I don't have a surplus saved up should we go through it again, I'm still trying to replenish from before.
On my drive today I was listening to worship music and it was like God picked the playlist. All the songs were about how strong He is. I realized that I was fearful that my faith wouldn't be strong enough a second time...but in reality, it never was. It was His strength, his faithfulness, that got us through the first time. It had very little to do with me from the start.
That's where the joy of salvation springs from- from the realization that we can do nothing for ourselves spiritually, and that God has done everything for us because of his great love for us.
I don't think I will every feel totally at ease again in my life until all cancer is cured. But even then death will find us another way. But God has rescued us from death. I don't have to fear cancer coming back because the worst that could happen is death, and he has overcome it. And it won't be my strength or faith that will earn that rescue, it's what Jesus did on the cross.
It's the most basic Christian belief, but somehow the truth of it has escaped me for some time. Today that truth turned off the simmering pot, and instead of feeling apprehension, I felt gratitude. Peace. Instead of feeling guilty for not "feeling" faithful, I will accept that he accepts me in this place of quiet obedience.