Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fear and Trembling

August 12, 2012

We were in Sonoma for a week to get away, and the time with Evan was good.  We laughed, cried and talked about Cora.  We talked about God.  Evan has such a strong faith, much stronger than mine.  He is unwavering in his assurance of God's goodness and thank God for that!   I, however, struggle with all kinds of thoughts and questions.  My experience of losing Cora actually makes me fearful of God and His plans for me in moments of weakness.

"But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
What he desires, that he does.
For he will complete what he appoints for me,
and many such things are in his mind
Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
when I consider, I am in dread of Him.
God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me"
                                 Job 23:13-17

My thoughts exactly.  I think Job knew how I feel.

Yet "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
I don't feel wise, I feel broken.

It's not that I'm tempted to doubt the existence of God.  I know he does exist.  It's rather like what C.S. Lewis says in A Grief Observed...."it's the terrible things I come to believe about God" that frightens me.  (forgive the paraphrasing!)  Satan would love to use my pain to cause me to doubt God's character.  I have to choose not to give in to those dark thoughts, but it helps to know I'm not the first, nor the last, to question God's goodness and to be fearful of his plans.  The answer as to whether or not God is good, however, has not and never will change.  He is good.  I will myself to believe it.

We are home now, and this is the first time in almost a month that I have been alone.  Truly.
The house is quiet.  All the voices and faces are gone.  Evan is at work, and I am left, sitting on the couch.  As I reflect, I can hardly believe it's all real.  This really happened.

My belly is flat (-ter....it's by no means flat).  There is no sweet kick or roll from within, no toes tickling my ribcage like before.  -Just an empty, confused body and a hurting heart.

As good of a book as Job is, I failed to be comforted by it.  It was helpful in making me see that "God is" and "God does" are absolutes.  It helped to keep me from cursing God or sinning against him in my anger, but it didn't salve my wounded soul like I thought it would.  Job suffered.  We suffer.  Suffering happens, and God allows it, even uses it, which is not very comforting.  It does however beg the question, "what does God want to produce in me as a result of this pain?"  I'm not ready to answer that question yet.

Then Evan and I read Philippians.  Paul exhorts them to be pure and blameless.  He tells them that God began a "good work" in them and that God will complete it.  And then he says,

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good purpose."
                                                     Phil. 2:12-13

(Side note:  So, not only do we have to be pure and blameless and obedient, we also have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling?!  C'mon, God!  Blast the human condition!)

Back to the fear and trembling.  Well, I've got that part down.  Now for the "good purpose" part.

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