I was angry. Up until that point, I had remained strong, just going with the flow despite so many changes and tubes. Although as I sat in the blue infusion center chair that Friday afternoon with my nurses across from me, defeated from the unsuccessful sticks trying to get an IV for fluids, no restraint could hold back the tears pouring down my face. As the nurse continued explaining my need for a PICC line in my arm, I really wasn’t listening. Instead the room seemed to be spinning as I tried to block out the pain of another disappointment and change… The reality was my digestive system was failing and I was wasting away… Why God Why?
I’ve often asked this question along my journey the past two years, but this day in particular stands out as I made the transition from a feeding tube to a permanent IV along with TPN: A huge step, not only medically, but also mentally and emotionally for at the time, it felt like it was the end of my world. Fear consumed me as I walked out of the hospital with two tubes sticking out of my arm the following Monday afternoon and then again as I went home after my first day of TPN training surrounded by syringes, needles and tubing… Why God Why? How could anything good come from this?
Similarly, we find people throughout the Bible who asked similar questions. Although, one couple that comes to mind is the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth starting in Luke 1.
“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.”
It was very customary during this time period for a woman’s sole purpose to be bearing and raising children. Thus, when Elizabeth was unable to become a mother, even though she did everything right in the Lord’s eyes, I can only imagine the grief, isolation, purposelessness, and embarrassment she carried, always wondering “Why?”. Although, let’s continue reading in verse 8…
“Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”….
“When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
What an incredible testimony… For the Lord heard their cries and longings of their hearts for years. He saw their faithfulness and quiet trust in him and he answered, not only making Zechariah and Elizabeth parents in their old age. But, their son, John, would be the one who prepared the way for Jesus the Messiah… And who even had the privilege of baptizing him.
Thus, when we encounter messy moments or seasons in our lives that don’t make any sense, it is okay to have emotions and give ourselves time and space to feel the weight of them. Even Jesus understands us better than we do. Nevertheless, we can remember that God is not finished just yet. He is good and as the Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans, I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And trust me friends, his plans are far bigger than you or I can even imagine.
Therefore, the question is “Will you trust him, even when you don’t understand?” He doesn’t promise that life will be easy, although he will walk with you each and every step of the way, just as he did Zechariah and Elizabeth, as well as time and time again with me. For in my situation with TPN, he transformed my questioning to thanksgiving, giving me more days here on this earth I would not have likely had otherwise.
*I believe this concept and scripture connects directly to the song “Bigger Than I Thought” by Passion. Check out the link below to listen 🙂