Still I Will Trust You
"For months I have been assuming that it was just other people that I don't trust anymore." I hear the words coming without really understanding that it is my mouth speaking them. "So my world keeps getting smaller. Now, 90% of the time its just me, Hope, and God."
I recognize that I just admitted that I am isolating in front of my sponsor. We learn in recovery how harmful isolating can be - we learn to reach out. Reaching out is against my natural inclinations anyway, and in recent weeks I've become worse and worse at it - any progress I had made in the months before regressing even further back than where I started.
But I can't stop the words now that they've started.
I press my hands into my forehead and continue on. "But I realized on Sunday, that its not just other people. I don't trust God anymore. I don't trust that He really has something beautiful on the other side of this. And I don't trust myself to be able to hear Him." My voice catches in my throat before I utter, "And that is completely heartbreaking. Because I have never felt that way before. And I have nothing profound to say about any of that, because I don't know what to do with any of it."
I pass just in time to choke back the tears.
* * *
My mom tells me that when I was a child Bob from Sesame Street was my imaginary friend. He went everywhere and I was adamant that she buckle him in when we drove somewhere.
As I've gotten older, I often think of God as my imaginary friend. We talk all the time. I cry to Him, laugh with Him, and sit quietly with Him. We have no secrets, He and I.
So when it occurred to me that maybe in all of this mess trust had been lost between us, it was a painful realization. But as I sat on the deck, Hope at the end of my chair, God right beside me, I had to admit that maybe that trust really was a casualty of this war.
From the very beginning, God has given me a peace that there is a purpose to all of this. And I have clung to that, desperately. But as the days go by, as each round makes me sicker, as I am faced with walking back into the real world - the "normal" world - I have yet to understand what that purpose is. I still can't see where I am going.
So how do I keep trusting God? Or trusting that I really heard what I think He told me?
The problem is, without trust, I'm not sure what is left anymore.
* * *
The next morning, I sit side-by-side with my sponsor. I am in tears. I still do not understand what God is doing with all of this.
"God has you on a need-to-know basis," she says kindly. "And right now, you don't need to know what His plan is. You may still not be ready to know."
* * *
The truth is, I am exhausted. Round five was by far the most difficult and every part of me feels done. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. All meters are low, all tanks are on empty, I am plumb out of gas.
I think everyone has a wall. I have hit mine. The thought of another round - even knowing its the last one - feels too big right now. Figuring out life after feels too big right now. Trusting anyone feels too big right now. I do not have the reserves left.
* * *
Still a bit foggy from round five and slogging through the truth that I am not sure God and I have ever really been communicating at all, I take my breakfast out to the deck, Hope bopping along beside me (ever the morning girl).
I am directed today to a passage from Jeremiah - one every Christian knows because its been printed on every possible item and splashed all over Instagram for years: "For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
"Blah, blah, blah," I think. I have heard this all before.
Except this time, I am directed further in - to the words that surround this commonly recited verse:
When 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place. For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me will all your heart. I will be found by you . . . and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you . . . . I will restore you to the place I deported you from.
Jeremiah 29: 11-14.
70 years. When 70 years are complete. That is when God will make good on this promise. Not now. Not quickly. Not when the exiled may want. Only after a long wait. Only after they call to Him, come to Him, pray to Him, seek Him. All that time, He will be listening, and after the long wait - in God's time, not theirs - they will be restored.
While it feels to me that I have been waiting for a very long time, it certainly hasn't been 70 years. Maybe my exile has really only just begun. The fact that He hasn't revealed the plan to me yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The fact that I am not aware of the timeline doesn't mean there is no end point. It simply means my wait isn't over. Yet.
Waiting is often the hardest thing. Especially when we don't have a timer to watch the wait by.
I sat there as the sun rose, reading this passage over and over again. The reason we ignore that part about the 70 years seems obvious - who wants to wait that long? But its such a critical part of God's promise to us. If we continue to call Him, seek Him, pray to Him, come to Him throughout the long wait, we will be rewarded with the beautiful plans He has for us.
My mind went back to the story of the blind man that is recounted in the Book of John. When the man came to Jesus to be healed, Jesus coated his eyes with mud made from dirt and saliva. He then told the man to walk to the water and wash. It was only after the man wandered to the water - eyes smeared with mud - that he was healed. His healing - God's plan - was revealed only after He had trust enough to wander toward the water and complete the journey.
If the blind man can do it, can't I?
I think so.