So sorry for the long gap between blogs. Life happened. It’s taking me awhile to adjust to life on dialysis. Nausea, fatigue, dizziness, loss of appetite, and mental confusion have been my constant companions these past few weeks. Pretty sucky stuff!
I’ve also wrestled with discouragement and a bout of depression as we’ve been waiting to get back on the kidney transplant surgery list. My wife (who is my perfect match and is graciously willing to donate one of her kidneys to me) came down with laryngitis one week before our scheduled transplant surgery. The doctors cancelled the surgery and it took three weeks of labs, trying to coordinate communication between two health care providers and getting sign-offs by specialists to get us back on the schedule. And by the time we got all the “oks” to move ahead, the soonest date we could re-schedule a transplant was: June 18th!
Man, that sucks! I mean, yeah, I’m supposed to “embrace the suck” but I didn’t think I’d have to embrace that much suck!
I could totally relate to the Psalmist, “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:2-3)
Don’t you love the Psalms? They give us “templates” on how to pray, how to praise, how to intercede, how to worship, and even how to approach God in our suckiness.
Over a third of the Psalms are called “lament” Psalms. These are Psalms that address God when life sucks. Until recently, I totally hated reading the lament Psalms. As an optimist, I felt they were total “downers.” I didn’t want to hear about David’s problems or Asaph’s issues. I just wanted to read “happy” Psalms. I want to hear how good and great God is, not about sad things or hard things or angry things.
But when life sucks, there’s nothing better than using a lament Psalm to help express what you’re feeling. They’re so authentic and real; no holds barred. The Lament Psalms express raw emotions, even graphic descriptions of what’s really on in the Psalmist’s minds as they suffer. When you’re going through suckiness, it’s hard to find words to describe what you’re feeling on the inside. The Lament Psalms give us a “vocabulary” or a “soup starter” to get what’s on the inside of us out in the open.
Even more important, the lament is the ONLY way to transform suckiness into something that can be redeemed. That’s because, in a lament, we’re not just complaining about our situations; we are pressing into God as we issue our complaint to him. Biblical lament is more than just a common complaint. Anyone (and everyone) can complain. Biblical lament is special because it is a complaint in the presence of our Loving God.
And that’s the key. God wants us to find powerful resolution and redemption to our sucky situations, but it involves us turning to him, leaning on him, pressing into him. When we suffer, we can do one of three things: 1) we can try to work it out on our own, 2) we can feel sorry for ourselves or 3) we can press into God. Only one of those options leads to life, love and transformation.
I believe lamenting in God’s presence is the first step through the season of suffering. I’ve been using the Psalms to help me press into God during this difficult season and it’s led me to some very honest and raw conversations with the Lover of my soul. Through them, the Lord has given me some powerful insight into the “value” of suffering. I’d like to share them with you in the weeks to come.
I’ll also give updates on my health progress. I know that many of you are praying for me, and I gladly receive those prayers!
I used to think that June 18th was so FAR away – so far, that it really discouraged me. But after lamenting to God, I see that I only have until June 18th to learn the unique and valuable lessons that the Lord wants to teach me as he walks with me through this journey.
How about you? In your suffering are you just complaining or are you lamenting? Turn to God, press into Jesus and get real with him.
What a friend we have in Jesus! All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.