(I wrote this on September 12, 2013. Because this is a reflection of how I felt as I was writing, I felt odd editing it, because even a short amount a time produces different feelings, however subtle, than what's here. I wanted to keep the integrity of what I wrote, so the changes have been minor. I also changed the title.)
Right now I'm in the middle of troubling times in my life. I have tried to keep my eyes open to what God might be doing to reverse them and to what he has wanted me to learn from this downward trajectory. I have tried to find patterns in how it will all work out, why it is happening, and what issues God is trying to have me work through. In short, I have tried to find meaning in my problems. I have hoped that there is some purpose in them. But the more they go on, the harder it is for me to find meaning.
Not all the meaning is gone. There have been several moments during this time where God has revealed, or made clearer truths that I've needed to face about myself. I see where he has been rooting out the ugly in me, and where he has been freeing me from deception in how I see him, and how I see myself. There have been more occasions during this time where my family has experienced the presence of God, in one way or another, than we have had in a long time.
But now as the troubles continue, and as it has become harder to live out the truths that have been revealed to me, it's become very easy for me to feel discouraged and even, let down by God. I thought that the inner changes would correspond to outward changes. I thought I saw how God was moving in my life. I thought, to be blunt, that my faith would pay off. I thought that all this growth would be rewarded with my deliverance from my problems, but it hasn't. They keep going, and I don't see, borrowing a great surprise, anything changing soon.
Instead I feel as if I was just trying to read the tea leaves. Rather than God ordained revelation, I feel like I possibly saw signs that weren't there, and created narratives for my life that didn't exist. As my problems have extended past my own predicted due dates, I feel like I was wrong, and I am tempted to say that there was no meaning in them at all, because that's how it feels. I feel like life has just happened to me, and there is no greater purpose in it.
But I know better than that. It's not as if my family hasn't ever sensed God's being with us during this period. And even more, I must hang on to the promise that everything works out for good for those who love God (although my mind is tempted to wonder if there's a theological or exegetical loophole to that). I must hang on to the belief that God is sovereign.
One of the biggest strongholds in my life is the temptation to doubt God's goodness and his love for me. Putting it straightforward like that sounds odd, because I wouldn't deny it in a straightforward manner. But I have realized (especially during this period) that the way I think about God and interact with him implies such beliefs. So right now, when I have a hard time seeing any meaning in my situation, I feel like God's just letting things happen to me. I don't feel like he has a hold of my life. I feel like he's not involved. I have a hard time trusting him. Part of me doubts that he has my best interest at heart.
I have to believe that even when things don't make sense, he does, in fact, have my best interest at heart. Maybe my attempts to find meaning are a way of trying to keep control over my life. Maybe what I feel God to be doing is just taking longer than I thought.
The platitudes go off in my head: "let go and let God," "God's timing is not our timing." That's all well and good, but sitting in the middle of all this, it is harder than I thought to live out what I said I believed about God. I thought I had passed the test. I thought I had passed and I was about to come out of this mess. That's how I saw it. Instead, I am being put to an even greater test, one where I can't read the tea leaves and see the resolution. I sit in the dark, and wait on God.