Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Giant

As some of you know, I'm reading my entire Bible, cover to cover.  I'm in Numbers and the Israelites just got denied entrance to the Promised Land because of their bad attitude.  I am learning so many life-lessons from these couple of chapters (Numbers 13 & 14).

That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt? And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”  ---Numbers 14:1-4

Here are these people who would rather choose a leader and go back to the land where they were slaves than move into a land "flowing with milk and honey" (Numbers 13:27).  We long for our former life of slavery.  I asked myself a monumentally difficult question this week: "If I could go back to a year ago and change what I've been through, would I opt out of Meniere's Disease?"  That has been an extremely thought-provoking process for me.  But when I think about the fruit it is bearing in my life, it's hard to say I would not want it.  But then there are days when I want to go back to the way things were - to my life of slavery.  A life where I always seemed to be scrambling for air.  I didn't have time for God back then (I didn't make time) but now I have an abundance of time to spend with Him.  I have gotten to know Him more intimately than I ever would have if I'd stayed a slave to my old life.  That is a very hard realization to come to and admit.  And part of my thought process has been "what if the Promised Land is another year away for me?  or 5 years?"  It's extremely difficult to fathom the answers to those questions. The Israelites struggled with it and so do I.

It's amazing how they (and I) forget that God's promises are real and trustworthy - period.  It doesn't matter if there will be a lack of meat, if there are giants or battles to fulfill His promises.  If he tells us He will do something, He's going to take care of the details - so long as we TRUST Him.  But each day we wake up and there's a new set of obstacles (or we don't feel well) and we forget that "He's got this."  The giants become bigger in our minds and He becomes smaller.  It should be the other way around - God should grow as our giants shrink.  Meniere's is my giant.  And every day I wake up and peek over the wall into the Promised Land.  And there in my Promised Land sits my Meniere's Disease.  Some days I slink back down the wall and worry about the giant.  My "giant" is formidable in my mind's eye.  Somewhere in the background is the milk and honey but I can't see it because the giant is there, looming largely and the longings for the life of slavery tug at me.

Our minds are wonderful and dangerous things.  Lydia is scared to death of a movie coming out next month:  Frankenweenie!  We talk about Frankenweenie A LOT around here (she obsesses over things she loves or things she's afraid of).  But you know what?  She knows nothing about the movie, nothing about the plot, nothing about the funny parts... she only knows about the visuals that she sees.  (And quite frankly they are a little creepy).

I've tried repeatedly to console her and tell her it's just a movie, that it's probably really cute and totally harmless.  I've tried to get her to watch a whole trailer with me instead of running and hiding when it comes on.  I've tried everything I can do to convince her that  Frankenweenie is safe.  I've asked her, "Would Mommy do anything to scare you?  Would I let anything bad happen to you? Doesn't Mommy always want the best for you?" And she always affirms that I am on her side.  But she has the idea in her head that it's scary and she wants no part of it.  Frankenweenie is a bit of a giant to Lydia these days.

Hmmmm... sounds like me and this Meniere's journey that I'm on.  I know God continually tries to comfort me and remind me that He will protect me, that He wants what's best for me and He won't let this harm me.  He asks me "Would I do anything to scare you?  Would I let anything bad happen to you? Don't I always want the best for you?" (sound familiar) but the ideas in my mind just tend to take control some days. 

And He puts milk and honey into my life every single day.  My husband, my kids, my mom, my friends, my ability to get myself out of bed, my schedule permitting me to spend a lot of time in prayer and study time, my comfortable bed and home, delicious food to eat, health insurance that covers my medical bills, the list goes on and on.

You may know what eventually happened to the Israelites who kept complaining.  Listen to what God says... 
“How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the landyou will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you. 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.  ---Numbers 14:27-35

Yikes!  The Israelites got their wish from verse 2.  God is MAD - sick of hearing them complain, sick of hearing them worry about his promises, sick of hearing them whine when He has the Promised Land in store for them.

Looks like I better quit my fussing and start enjoying the milk and honey in my life!  A great reminder can be found in Psalm 103:1-5...
1Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

This is easily said and hard to do.  But I am trying.  Every day.  Some days it's harder than others, but I do believe that God acknowledges our attempts and has compassion for our tries.  My new prayer each morning is "God, help me to face this giant of Meniere's Disease.  Help me remember that your promise of milk and honey is trustworthy.  Please may I not grumble against you today." 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Nicole, what a rich and inspiring entry! YOu might need to write a devotional book. Your attitude is so inspiring because I can only imagine how easy it would be to just get so despondent and throw in the towel. Abundant blessings to you as you "go forth."