The black dog would slip into my room every night when I was alone and lying in my hospital room after losing my foot to amputation. Faith is easy in the good times, but now I found myself really struggling in this dark time of my life.
“Help me understand why you allowed this God.”
“Why does your plan for my life have to include so much pain and suffering?
“How much more do you expect me to endure God?”
I would start at the stump where my lower leg and foot used to be until my eyes were so full of tears that I could no longer see it.
Once again God’s plan for my life had taken what I viewed as an uninvited, unexpected twist. And I was mad. Again.
I begin to think back to when I first began the journey of being a special needs dad. I didn’t understand that situation either. I was mired in anger, despair, and bitterness then too. Those feelings once again flooded my thoughts day and night.
Move over Jacob, it’s my turn.
I had wrestled mightily with God over my son’s profound special needs and its impact on my life. Many nights I had struggled with God over my feelings, just like I was doing now.
24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 “What is your name?” the man asked.
He replied, “Jacob.”
28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.
“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. (Genesis 32,NLT)
I had read this passage many times before, but this time the phrase, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” thundered through my heart.
That night I told God that even though this made no sense to me, and that I was still mad that he let this happen, I would stand on my faith and ask Him to bless me through this experience.
I could almost audibly hear my chains breaking and dropping to the floor as I surrendered.
Go back to the creek
The voice would whisper in my ear, urging me to remember.
Nineteen years ago when I became a father of a child with special needs I had walked to the creek near our house to rage at God. I would shout in anger at the God who I thought had ruined my life.
Night after night I wallowed in self pity and bitterness. Then one night the Holy Spirit had spoken directly to my spirit and said, “I have given you a blessing, what you do with it is up to you.”
Now some nineteen years later I can proudly say becoming the father of a child with profound special needs was, indeed, one of the biggest blessings of my life.
And now that same voice was whispering in my ear again, urging me, “Go back to the creek.”
Could this too become one of the biggest blessings of my life?
Can I buy a vowel please?
I realized that my healing really came down to a choice. A letter. One letter that would make all the difference in the world.
I could get better, or I could get bitter. My healing would hinge on which vowel I chose.
So I have surrendered my disability to God. He has entrusted me with suffering for His glory. I am asking Him to make me worthy of the calling.
It’s brutally hard and I’m not there yet. But I’m on the journey.
“There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
I will rise
And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
— “I Will Rise,” Chris Tomlin