Make me a star

Obedience, humility, cheerfulness ("Do all you have to do without complaint or wrangling") are rare in a warped and crooked world--nearly nonexistent, in fact, where each lives for his own ends. If a marriage counselor were to ask each partner, "What are your goals?" and the answer were "How can I best serve my husband or wife? What can I do to further his or her goals?" the counseling period would be over, the bill low. Any two people, any community of Christians who set themselves to look only to the other's interest would be a rare and radiant thing, shining, as Paul said, "like stars in a dark world" (Phil 2:15 NEB).

In that same sense, a Christian might well pray, "Lord, make me a star."
~ Elisabeth Elliot, A Lamp Unto My Feet

One of the reasons I love the Bible is it puts all tests into perspective - quickly! Open up to any given page and you will soon be reading of people being thrown into jail, stonings, crucifixions, whole nations being chased into the wilderness, or men being asked to sacrifice their beloved, people in hiding, famine, war, cruelty. None of which I currently suffer. Just a tiny little pain in my heart, and a little exhaustion at the end of the day.

Just like so many times before this, I have a choice in how to respond to this current trial. I believe God leaves room to cry out in the desert, to lament, to mourn, to bellow an anthem of anguish, like David did so frequently in the Psalms: Answer me, O God, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not your face from your servant, for I am in distress; make haste to answer me! (69:16-17) My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (22:1-2) God also makes room for silence. For those times when you are exhausted from sorrow, and sit like a statue, and even your thoughts have abandoned you. For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. (62:1)

I read the Psalms in times like these because they calm the waves of fear in my heart. I watch as David is persecuted, and delivered, and persecuted again, and delivered again. I see him descend to valleys and ascend to mountaintops, I hear his cries of sorrow followed by shouts of praise. What stands out, as I read these songs of his, is that he never curses God. Although he is angry with his circumstances, at times, yet he doesn't say, "God, you dirty rat! YOU did this to me! I am turning away, I have given up on you." Instead, he begs, Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah (be still and think on that). (62:1-4)

I am learning, today, in this perfect storm of medical misfortune, to continue praying. To huddle in the rain under the wings of the Savior, instead of running as fast as I can in hopes of outrunning the weather that surrounds me. To experience what it means to be with Someone who steadfastly loves me in the deepest, darkest nights of life.

He created me, this woman with intense, passionate emotions. The question is not what emotion do I feel, but how do I respond? I do not believe that my fear, my questions, my disappointment will be counted against me as sin. But if I respond with a spirit of anxiety, or anger with God, that is where the error lies.

If I choose instead to respond by crying out to Him, praying to Him, and trusting Him, then I have the unique and precious opportunity to shine as a light in darkness.