Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pray What?

I awoke to one of my greatest fears Sunday morning... I had pressure and ringing in my right ear, my healthy, non-Meniere's Disease-ear.  I have prayed on-and-off for my right ear over the past couple of years.  I think I've even blogged about my right ear at some point.  I forget the percentage, but I think it's around or slightly less than 50% of people with bi-laterial Meniere's Disease.

At church on Sunday I was like a zombie - couldn't really think straight or process much.  I felt like a million people asked me, "How are you? Are you doing better?" and I lied, "I'm good, so much better."  In the kitchen Sunday afternoon I had a massive meltdown.  I sobbed on Jonathan’s shoulder for a good, solid 15 minutes or more.  He was so strong and reassuring.  He even said, “At least we already know what works and what doesn’t so we’ll be ahead of the game this time.”  It’s incredible that he would say that when the last 2.5 years have been harder on him than on anyone else.

I do know that my preacher talked about FEAR and at one point he said (and this is verbatim):
"[God] often gives us a smaller challenge to prepare us for the big one."  
Are… you… SERIOUS?  
God, what on earth can you possibly want to challenge me with now?  I don't need or want anymore challenges.  I am good, I promise!

Sunday's Jesus Calling message included the following:
"You are really just beginning your journey of intimacy with me...  Do not recoil from afflictions, since they are among my most favored gifts."  
Again, are you SERIOUS?
No, thank you God.  I'm all gifted out right now.  That unfriendly worker at the restaurant last week needs a few of your "gifts" or what about the convicts in jail or all the 95-year-olds who have basically lived their lives?  They need some of your "gifts" right?

I've really been struggling with what and how to pray the last couple of days.  I mean, honestly, if God wants to take me down this road again, who am I to ask him to change his mind?  I know of at least two instances in the bible where it appears a mortal changed God's mind; when God tells Moses on two separate occasions that he’s had it with the Israelites and he’s going to destroy them…

Numbers 14
God: “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them" (v. 11-12)

Moses:  “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people… If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness… In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” (v. 13-19)

God: “I have forgiven them, as you asked.” (v. 20)

Exodus 32
God:  “I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” (v. 9-10)

Moses:Lord, should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand… Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people.  (v.11-13)

V 14 - Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

I say it appears Moses changed God’s mind because God is God and in my opinion he certainly knew all along the outcome of the dialogue with Moses.

For about the first year of my Meniere’s Disease journey I prayed earnestly, firmly believing that I would wake up one day completely healed.  There were days when I questioned whether it would happen but most days I truly believed that’s what God had in store.  I don’t necessarily think my hope or faith waned after that first year, but I did settle in to a realization that a longer journey was God’s plan for me.

On Sunday I found myself begging God throughout the day to “please, please, please, please, please, please, P-U-L-E-E-Z-E not let this happen.”  When all along in the back of my mind I realized that if my right ear is next then it’s all part of the plan.  

The only “answer” I’m left with is that the best prayer for me right now is, “God, please prepare me for whatever you have in mind.  Help me to remember that your will is perfect and that you ultimately take care of my family, not me.  I certainly cannot see right now why you would choose this for me, but I trust that you know best.  Please remove the bitterness and anger I am feeling.  Allow me to do better than cope; allow me to accept your sovereignty.”

ARGH!  That is REALLY HARD, but it’s the best thing for me.  Maybe those are the prayers I need to pray more often – for myself, my family, my friends.  Prayers seeking acceptance, peace and joy in the midst of whatever God’s plans entail.  Romans 8:28 reminds us that God works together for the GOOD of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.  If we know he’s working all things for our good and not for our happiness, comfort or personal desires, we must learn to accept the good-ness of his plans for us.

The pressure and ringing were better today, although the ringing has increased as the day has worn on.  I'm certainly HOPEFUL that my right ear stays healthy, but if not... well, if not, see above!

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