Tag Archive: escape


No Escape from Brokenness??

Previously I’d talked about my dissatisfaction with my own brokenness, and I left off at a point where God asked me to consider the “what if” of limping for the rest of my life. It was a profound question. What I wanted was out.  I wanted to escape the pain and struggle in my life. I wanted away from my problems, the things that I believed were to blame for my pain and anguish. I just didn’t want to hurt any more. I believed God could do all that for me. He healed that lady who bled for 12 years, right? Blind folks were seeing, dead people were living, and all kinds of crazy stuff happened. Why not me? Why couldn’t I have a similar miracle, a new life? What the heck was God doing, asking me an awful question like that?

By that time, I knew Him better than when I was a suspiciously minded teenager. I actually knew that love was worthwhile and believed Him to be good and to have my best interests in mind, so I didn’t throw a drink in His face and tell Him where to go. Instead, I thought about what He was saying. While I still upset about the question, at this point, I was also curious. It’s a good thing that I’m not a cat, and that God loves me. I’ve noticed that He frequently catches me by pricking my curiosity.

First off, He wasn’t telling me, “No way, Jose.” It was not a denial of my request. It was important for me to realize that. I’m sure I’d have thrown a more impressive temper tantrum, otherwise.

So He’s good, and He’s looking out for me, and He works things out for those who love Him, which ruled out crazy whim or caprice, too. He was not flexing or bullying or doing anything like that.

He’s also omniscient, right? God knows everything. If He did, that meant the questions He was asking weren’t particularly important for Him. If that was true, then they were probably more for my benefit. There was something meant for good in this situation for me. What could it be?

I thought about it. I still think about what good there could be in brokenness, and when I do, a passage that consistently springs to mind is Isaiah 53. It is well worth a thoughtful read, so I’m going to paste it in and leave you there until the next post. If you’d prefer NIV over the KJV, click on the Isaiah 53 link. Bible Gateway has many other versions, too.

Isaiah 53

King James Version (KJV)
53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Drawing

Blood tests are never fun. They always involve needles, poking, prodding, and at least a little pain. I don’t know anybody who enjoys the experience. Unfortunately, in these United States, blood tests are a fact of life. They represent an accurate and relatively noninvasive way for doctors to acquire facts. Until something better comes along, we’ll all be getting poked and prodded in the name of good health.

Most of us can embrace that. Not all are so fortunate, though, and my sister Kimberly is one of those folks. She hates getting poked more than anybody else I know, but still, every year, she has to go through it. Today was this year’s draw.

My family, and my mom especially, try very hard to help prepare Kimberly to face the terror. We sat at home this morning and practiced (without needles) step by step until Kimberly was feeling confident about it. She was so scared at first that she wouldn’t even let us touch her, and that was at home with people she knew and no unfamiliar objects. When she was ready, the lot of us piled in the car to be her moral support. The plan was to get the blood drawn and then head off to her favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch. We got to the lab, got everything ready, and she was doing well enough to bare her arm in preparation for the stick.

It was great until seconds before the phlebotomist walked over. I don’t know what happened. She was fine, and then she was panicked. Her sleeve slithered back down in a blink of an eye. Her body went stiff. She went from confident and happy to scared and stiff.

I don’t think she was reacting to anybody. Everybody was so nice and helpful toward her. The phlebotomist was careful to explain. The lab tech was very patient. We all tried to reason with her, to persuade her (Mom told her that Mom needed Kimberly’s help to help Mom take care of Kimberly), to soothe her, and even to bribe her, but Kimberly was having none of it. Her fear ratcheted up higher and higher until she was starting to make a lot of noise, and we realized that we were going to have to move her away from the whole group.

As soon we started to move, she bolted. She ran for the wall and pressed herself, all curled up defensively, against it. Her tears plastered her face, snot was leaking from her nose, and as she panted rapidly in fear, I thought she was about to vomit. The poor kid…. the poor, poor kid… I cuddled myself around her and tried to calm her down a little bit. Shelah and I managed to get her up and walking toward the ER. As soon as she realized that we weren’t leaving, though, she did what Mom told us is called the Downs drop. She went totally limp and hit the floor. There was no holding her, no keeping her up or restraining her. I think I’d have had more luck trying to hold onto a soapy balloon full of jello.

She stayed on the floor for a few moments, fighting and flopping against both family and staff, until Shelah managed to time a snag and get her carried to a stretcher. There she was enveloped in a blanket, carefully pinned, and speedily poked. At that point, the sun came out. Everything was great! She hopped up and said, “I’m so proud!” The drawing was complete.

It was a trying experience. Everything we could think of to help Kimberly, we tried, but at the crunch, her fear won and forced a situation where we had to use force to help her. All the practice, the bribery, the education, the kindness, the whatever… it wasn’t enough. The poor kid, you know?

I’m not any different. I could so identify with the feelings she projected. Blood draws won’t make me panic like that, but if I think about some of the places I’ve had to go inside myself, I’m just like her. I’ve been where I couldn’t be touched, where I would fight and flop to get away, where it didn’t matter how much I’d practiced, where the bribes became irrelevant, where my trust failed, where I would injure myself to escape those trying to help me, where my fear was so consuming that I’d choose sickness and death over healing and life if left to my own devices… Thank God for a Savior!

How do You do it, God? How do you keep working with us over and over even though we panic and drop on You? How is it that Your love never fails? How do You continue in Your longing to keep on gathering?

Matthew 23

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.