Thursday, April 26, 2012

my newest read

Since Jared has been gone to Des Moines for job training most of this past month, I have had a little extra time on my hands. Not too much, but some. And for some reason, if I am alone at night, I can find all sorts of reasons to stay up and not go to bed at a decent hour. I can be tired and dragging butt all day long, but 10 pm rolls around and I am online or reading a magazine or blogging or mindlessly watching TV. And when I do go to bed, it's quiet and I am all alone with no one to talk to. 

So one of the first nights he was gone I sat there, not ready to turn out the light and surrender to sleep quite yet. I looked over and noticed the Bible that sits on our bedside table. Now I will admit I have never been a terribly good Bible reader. We have had good intentions in the past, reading a chapter or more every night, but then something would come up to alter our routine and we got out of the habit. But since I had nothing else better to do, I decided to give it another go.

So every night, after the girls are asleep and I have grown tired of Facebook and blogs and mindless TV, I climb into bed, get comfy and crack open Jared's student Bible. I like his Bible. It's sort of like The Bible for Dummies. It's a student version with lots of little text boxes further explaining important passages and events that take place.  And it has a guided tour that helps you focus in on the "important" or more well known texts if you get bogged down in some of the chapters {or entire books for that matter}. I really like this because it's like a great English teacher in high school who helped you decipher all that confusing language in Romeo & Juliet. It's like a sermon in church where the pastor takes a passage and compares it to everyday examples and makes it easier to relate to and, thus, understand.

I came across a chapter in Deuteronomy that was outlined by the guided tour:

"When your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."
                                                                   Deuteronomy 8:13-14

The guided tour went on to further elaborate the point with a quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Russian man, explaining why it was he learned to pray in a Siberian concentration camp:
"When things are bad, we are not ashamed of our God. We are only ashamed of Him when things are going well."

This really resonated with me.

It's easy to be faithful when you feel you truly need God. When bad things happen to us or those we love, it is easy to turn to prayer and ask/beg/plead for God's help. It's easy to need God when there is literally no one else. When a friend is having a tough time or a family member is sick, for many of us it is our first reaction to say, "You're in my prayers." It's easy to talk about praying when someone's health or life is on the line. It's probably even the expected thing to say.

It's much harder to remember to put your faith in God when things are going well for you. You just landed a great job, your family is healthy, and things in your life seem to be perfect. It's just simply easier to forget about God when life seems to be going your way.
And clearly he predicted that.

I am guilty of this, just as I am sure most people are. Thinking back to times when I felt the most in need of God's help and guidance, I am brought back to one recent example: when Avery was admitted to the NICU and was oh-so-very sick.

It didn't fully dawn on me for about two full days just how serious the situation really was. But then she developed a blood infection, and our doctor was worried about endocarditis, and then there was potential for brain damage from her extreme jaundice... It hit me.  People die from blood infections all the time. And she isn't even a week old. That night when my family thought I had gone to my room to lie down, I roamed the hospital and ended up in the chapel. I just knelt in the small pew, all alone, sobbing and praying simultaneously.
And then I did what I am sure every person in these kind of situations does:
I prayed, "I will do anything. Anything. Just please make her better."

I really, really needed God. I am a pray-er anyway, I pray about lots of things. But none of my prayers ever had the intensity of the prayers I said in those weeks. I had never wanted anything more in my entire life than for my tiny little baby to be okay. And as the days went by, she began to grow stronger and healthier.

Now that it has been almost a year since Avery was sick, the terror and the need I was feeling at the time seems a bit more dulled. You seem to forget the pleading and the begging and the bargaining. You forget just how much you needed your faith then - and how much you still need it now. You start to forget because things are going well.

I am a thankful person. Daily I thank God for the gifts He has given me, the family I am blessed with, and the opportunities I have been granted. But I also want to live my life in faith too, during both the good times and the bad. I am not going to become some awkward person who only talks about Jesus. And guaranteed my liberal viewpoints are here to stay. I just want to put more of my trust in God so I can give up the worry and know that in the end, everything is going to be all right.

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