Monday, November 23, 2015

On Coughing and Praising

Although I feel like I've been blessed with generally pretty good health, I have two chronic problems that have plagued me for years. One is the sleep stuff that I'm sure you're all tired of hearing about. The second is that when I get a cold, the cough settles in my lungs and makes my life hell for weeks. Doctors have tried inhalers, all sorts of drugs . . . nothing helps. It's awful.

And after a week of a normal-person-common-cold, I have my cough again. I'm miserable. But a comment from someone in my BSF group is giving me a different perspective on it.

We studied the fourth chapter of Revelation last week. This is the first part of the vision John has, and it is all about the throne of God. The majesty of it. His awesomeness and splendor. There are living creatures and twenty-four elders (the details of all them I don't get, but it doesn't matter) surrounding His throne and worshiping Him day and night.

[Sidenote: Some people have said that heaven sounds boring, doing nothing but worshiping all day. But you know, I'm not convinced that we have nothing to do there but to stare at God and be awed by Him. I think we'll have plenty to do – scripture talks about us ruling with him (what that means exactly, I'm not sure, but it sounds pretty active). I suspect that this vision of John's is a piece of figurative imagery for us: "rejoicing in the Lord always", "praying continually" . . . that constant attitude of worship that we are called to be in even here on earth. In heaven, we won't be hindered anymore by our sinful, fleshly natures and that worship will come naturally. And won't that be wonderful?]

But back to my friend's comments. She told us how it hit her that, when the attacks happened in Paris, nobody in heaven suddenly stopped and looked and said, "Whoa, God . . . what's going on here?" No, they continued to worship – day and night, just like always. Because what happened in Paris was not a shock to anyone up there like it was to us. They know what we don't know. They see the big picture. They see what's happening on a macro-level and on a micro-level with all this chaos and tragedy and they know that it is all under God's control . . . it is all working toward His grand and glorious conclusion . . .  and they know that even in the midst of this, He is still worthy of all praise.

Now, it's not like I didn't know that in my head. But somehow, it penetrated my heart this week. And I needed that.

If God is working through even the tragedy and sin of terrorism to accomplish His will, what up with my whining about a cough? Like God isn't bigger than that? Like my irritated lung tissue is suddenly evidence of His negligence and impotence and lack of compassion? Like He clearly doesn't know what He's doing if He isn't going to stop this cough?

So, I'm coughing and praising. As best I can. Lord, I believe . . . help my unbelief.

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