“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.” ~ Job 11:7-9
Sometimes Lent seems to come in with a bang. Just like March – Lion or lamb? I had Lenten plans, fairly quiet plans. I wanted to work on getting healthier, exercise more, eat less chocolate – actually, no chocolate – eat better in general. I was planning to spend more time reading the Bible and trying to work on being more aware of the moment, etc. I had Lenten meditations to read.
The last few months have been hectic. My mother had been ill, colds and flu were going around. I managed to get a fairly decent cold with some laryngitis which should have helped with my listening since I had trouble talking. My brother’s recent serious illness and injuries still are of great concern – miracles have happened – and I thought I was getting through fairly well. My schedule was busy, but that was about to slow down for a while. I was tired. I really do look forward to Lent so that I can consciously re-evaluate where I am with God, others and myself.
And then, I end up in the hospital with an infection requiring three surgeries in four days. Seriously? Why? What’s this about? I was starting to feel like Job, but then I reread the story. There is a guy who really had serious problems. I spent a day or two being mad at things that don’t usually bother me. I was really furious with one or two. My husband said I was grumpy and I wondered about the wisdom of him telling me that at the moment. But he was right. Then God said, “Girl, (he calls me that sometimes. At least he didn’t call me Donna Jean.) “Girl, if you want your body to heal, you need to calm down. Have some inner peace.” Okay! Inner peace. I’m all for it. How?
I posted a quote by Henri Nouwen on my Facebook page this morning. He said, “Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. …Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event….One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.”
How I choose to go through hard times makes a difference. Jesus has promised to be with us, no matter what we go through, even when we don’t feel like he is. I choose to believe this and I have found it to be true over the years. Some say God is testing us to see what we are made of, but he already knows the answer to that. Maybe, we need to know that we can make it with God’s help and with each other’s help – God “with skin on”. I don’t always know why things happen and I really don’t need to know but I can choose how I respond.
My sister told me yesterday, after telling me about the plans she and her husband are making for their future, “Those are our plans anyway, but you know, God may have different plans for us.” We have to hold our plans lightly, because God’s plans, though often different from ours, are the plans that hold the promise. They are the plans that bring the joy. As Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives…and in my flesh I shall see God.” Even now. Today. If I choose it.
Seriously? Yep. Very seriously.