Compass Plant (silphium laciniatum)
So what do you do when your prayers are not answered in the way you hoped for? What happens when the healing doesn't come? When the bills continue to pile up? Or when the heartbreak feels like it will never end?
I have been walking this path of Chronic Illness for a relatively short period of time, compared to others I've met who've dealt with it for a life time. Nonetheless, I have had my days of growing weary in my prayers. Days when I've felt that this illness just shouldn't be continuing. After all, I've done all the things I'm supposed to be doing, and worked so hard at it! I've changed my diet, and added in the essential oils. I've taken the pills and given myself the shots. I've exercised and I've rested. I've let go and I've held onto. . . . And yet, the hard days still overwhelm me when they come. "Not again!" I've heard myself crying in the midst of renewed pain, even as the Lord is whispering His Love in the same moment.
I've a confession to make. I am a corner-sitter. Have been, for most of my life in fact. Anytime sickness came, I found a spot, settled there, and pushed everyone else away. Let me focus on my chores, and grudgingly get through these bad days, then I'll rejoin the human race when I feel better. Is there anyone else who would take the risk to join in and acknowledge that also?
Or maybe you are more like my husband, who is a snuggler. When sickness comes his way, he becomes a sweet little puppy dog, and just wants to hold my hand and let me reassure him that things will soon be better.
Neither way is actually better than the other. What really matters is how we let the Lord come into those moments. In my mind, the snuggler would seem better suited to opening his heart to God's Presence, but I'm not so sure. Where do our eyes go, when we are weak? Do we seek to find our help in other people? Do we seek to find our help in our own hidden reserves of strength?
If we are really honest, we could find a different source of strength, and a different place in which to focus our thoughts:
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."
When I have truly listened to the comfort that Jesus brings, I have been drawn out of the corner. He is above the pain and the heartbreak, even as He understands what we are feeling. This life is only a moment, only a fleeting, but His Eternity is all around us if we will see above the storm of this day.
Those flowers at the top of the page hold a special meaning for me. I have longed to see them for years. When we lived in Illinois, the prairie seemed to surround me, even as I walked my daily paths in the busy of Chicago suburbs. So I devoured books and information on the prairie plants. This one, the 6 to 8 foot tall Compass Plant, fascinated me. It's leaves were supposed to face North and South, in order to avoid the glare of the hot noon-day sun. I was never able to see it, though, in all of my Chicago-land years.
But this weekend, in the middle of a painful fibro-flare, there it was: close to my Wisconsin home, in the nature preserve with my name in it: Lake Elizabeth Nature Trail. My husband had driven there, for a brief touch with the wild restored praire land that my soul was craving. And it is true! Those leaves really are pointing North and South, avoiding that heavy glare.
I want to point the way to comfort also. Focused upward where the Glory of Jesus can brighten even these hard days of unanswered prayer. Where the wild places can call our hearts out of their dreary into the Beauty and Joy of Jesus.
Rich Mullen's song "Calling Out Your Name"
I am linking again this week over at these great sites: