The Temptation to Doubt: Was it God … or Just a Thing?

 

I didn’t sleep much last night, which isn’t very different from every other night, but last night I had something new on my mind. Images of my mother’s ravaged body after decades of experimental drugs administered by heinous injections intended to treat her RA, which they did, but they also slowly killed her off in so many other ways.

She was hospitalized in the late ‘90s, and while still in what would be a weeks-long coma, I stood alone at her bedside in the ICU shortly after she’d suffered a severe brainstem stroke. Being the self-righteous prig that I sometimes was back then (and still can be now), I said something like, “Well Mom, this is how things go when you make poor choices.”

Yes, I really said that … or something close to that.

Yes, it’s pretty revolting.

Given my recent “RA or it could be Lupus” scare (which has now been diminished to a “Boo!” with me barely flinching at the threat), I must admit that the thought had crossed my mind that God is finally getting me for my big sins.

It’s a sad confession, isn’t it? Anyone who writes under the pen name God-Loving Woman ought to be swimming daily laps in God’s infinite pool of grace. But old voices fade hard, hanging on by a thread now, whispering words of condemnation when the opportunities arise in low moments.

In the early days of my preliminary diagnosis, I took strange solace in accepting my fate as if it were some kind of delayed penance long-waiting for its due. It was a deserved punishment, and once paid, I would be at peace. In pain, but at peace. Which brings back images of Robert De Niro in Mission climbing, slipping, falling, and then trying again to climb the remote forest mountains dragging behind him his old armor, swords, and other medieval weapons of terror. It’s pride, you know. Thinking that we can do something to pay down the debt of our sin, as if we could.

Since the preliminary diagnosis, I’ve seen a rheumatologist. She took one look at my initial test results and said, “I don’t buy it.” She didn’t tell me why she didn’t buy it, and I didn’t ask. In any case, she ordered more tests.

As part of the Macon, GA. Beth Yeshua intercessory prayer team, I make daily requests to God for people dealing with all kinds of issues, most of which are health-related. I thought about it for a few days and finally sent in my own request. It was my first time. You see, I still have this idea that I can deal with things myself, that I don’t need any help, and people will disappoint me anyway, so why try? (Yes, I live a conflicted existence).

Then today, just this morning, I received the full complement of test results from both doctors. Here they are, including those pertaining to other issues found in the initial testing:

  • There is no sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus, despite the alarming test results of 13 days ago.
  • The hypothyroidism test result dropped from abnormally high to within the normal range, again in 13 days.
  • Cholesterol, which had always been normal but then shot up to heights never before reached, has dropped 23 points in 13 days.

How am I feeling? Much better. There are still minor issues to be resolved, but they’re exactly that: minor. And instead of taking heavy-duty pain and anti-inflammation drugs (a particular one that means I can’t drink wine, which is absolutely unacceptable), I’m doing well managing my pain with Tylenol and ibuprofen.

Last night, my husband said, “How are you feeling?”

“I feel pretty good!”

He nodded with a smile.

I looked at him for a moment and then said, “God healed me!”

His face lit up, his mouth dropped open, and he could only say, “Wow.”

Now, this afternoon when I see my primary care doctor, she may try to find some logical explanation for what has happened, blame it on the interference of the antibiotics I was taking when the tests were done … or something like that. I won’t blame her or think less of her; it’s what we do.

So, what am I getting at here? It’s this question:

Why is it that I’d rather point to something I can see, measure, control, evaluate, and explain as the reason for this amazing turnabout than to acknowledge and praise God for stepping in and working His healing will in response to my request for help?

Really … why is that? It’s more than pride: it’s fear of looking like a loon, or not wanting to trust God too much for fear of being disappointed (an argument I have never understood), or a conditioned response to mystery and our need to explain away everything … for what? To perpetuate the illusion of being in control? To sustain some sense of life’s predictability? It’s something. A little help here would be great.

Anyway, my eyes have been opened.

And my ears now hear these words.

“Don’t doubt Me.”

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I’m really happy for you. :-)

     

    • #1
  2. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Back in 1987 when I first began a long, on-going history of heart problems, with each new development I kept asking in prayer, “What am I to learn from this experience?” I continue to ask that, and find it helps me to focus on the Lord instead of on myself.

    • #2
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    God-LovingWoman:

    Why is it that I’d rather point to something I can see, measure, control, evaluate, and explain as the reason for this amazing turnabout than to acknowledge and praise God for stepping in and working His healing will in response to my request for help?

    Really … why is that? It’s more than pride: it’s fear of looking like a loon, or not wanting to trust God too much for fear of being disappointed (an argument I have never understood), or a conditioned response to mystery and our need to explain away everything … for what? To perpetuate the illusion of being in control? To sustain some sense of life’s predictability? It’s something. A little help here would be great.

    If you figure any of this stuff out, please do let me know.  Thanks.

    • #3
  4. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I’m really happy for you. :-)

     

    Thank you!

    • #4
  5. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Back in 1987 when I first began a long, on-going history of heart problems, with each new development I kept asking in prayer, “What am I to learn from this experience?” I continue to ask that, and find it helps me to focus on the Lord instead of on myself.

    That pretty much sums it up!

    • #5
  6. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman:

    Why is it that I’d rather point to something I can see, measure, control, evaluate, and explain as the reason for this amazing turnabout than to acknowledge and praise God for stepping in and working His healing will in response to my request for help?

    Really … why is that? It’s more than pride: it’s fear of looking like a loon, or not wanting to trust God too much for fear of being disappointed (an argument I have never understood), or a conditioned response to mystery and our need to explain away everything … for what? To perpetuate the illusion of being in control? To sustain some sense of life’s predictability? It’s something. A little help here would be great.

    If you figure any of this stuff out, please do let me know. Thanks.

    Hah! I certainly will pass on anything worth musing about. 

    • #6
  7. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    This is a fascinating story for a number of reasons!  1.  Were you feeling pain so you went to primary care and they came up with that – then you got a second opinion from a specialist who cleared you of those concerns?  2. Something clearly caused you to have other concerning symptoms and within 13 days they changed that dramatically? I wonder what the side effects were from your antibiotics and what kind? Hope they were not Sulphur-based. That is an old fashioned antibiotic but Sulphur wreaks havoc – I can testify to it.  

    I’m going with the God theory and that’s the best part of fascinating in your story. Any way you slice it, you had a miracle and I am so happy for you that you’re feeling better!! :-)

    PS  Going with that theory, if you are not able to sleep, pray until you fall asleep – just unload your thoughts and pray for others, then you will find your spirit has calmed to where you will fall asleep.  We live in strange times and I think everyone is having trouble.

    • #7
  8. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Will He heal me or won’t He ?

    Sometimes the answer is no !  However, I believe God delights in surprising us or going contrary to our goad kicking.  

    Praising Him for your healing. 

    • #8
  9. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Recently my friend asked me to pray for him and I wasn’t really feeling like it at the moment, but because he asked, I agreed. Feeling nothing in particular and not really expecting anything, I prayed anyway, and to my amazement, he told me the pain had left him. A week later, he told me it was still gone. When I think of all the times that I felt really serious about prayer and quoted scripture to myself and others and did not see anything happen…

    Well, I know it wasn’t me.

    • #9
  10. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I’m going with the God theory and that’s the best part of fascinating in your story. Any way you slice it, you had a miracle and I am so happy for you that you’re feeling better!! :-)

    PS  Going with that theory, if you are not able to sleep, pray until you fall asleep – just unload your thoughts and pray for others, then you will find your spirit has calmed to where you will fall asleep.  We live in strange times and I think everyone is having trouble.

    So … full disclosure. I failed to update the timeframe for my sleeplessness … I actually started writing this post last Thursday, one day before my father in-law was hospitalized. It’s been a whirlwind since. But … the focus of my prayers turned to him. And I dropped the post until I could finish it, which was today.

    Now, this is cool, at least to me. My husband’s brother is the Cliff Clavin of the family, always the one who knows it all and likes to make sure everyone recognizes it. He’s smart, but certainly not the oracle of all wisdom. Anyway, my husband comes home yesterday afternoon and tells me that his brother thinks their dad has just a few weeks. And I say … “don’t underestimate what might happen here, and don’t take your brothers words into your thoughts right now.” To which my oldest daughter chimes in and says, “Yeah, he’s not a doctor!”

    Anyway, this morning upon my mother in-laws arrival at the hospital, Deeda (our nickname for him) was sitting up feeding himself and experiencing only mild pain. He’s coming home today! Deeda and I have a secret pact of prayer between us and clearly he held up his end of the deal.

    That’s good news number 1.

    Good news number 2. I just returned from an appointment with my primary doctor who had not yet reviewed the results of tests ordered by the rheumatologist. When she saw the test results, she was flabbergasted. I just sat there twirling my cross pendant, eyes bright and smiling big under my stupid yellow mask. She was pretty happy, even if she found the whole thing puzzling.

    Giggling lots.

    • #10
  11. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Will He heal me or won’t He ?

    Sometimes the answer is no ! However, I believe God delights in surprising us or going contrary to our goad kicking.

    Praising Him for your healing.

    Yes, praising Him. And  you are so right. Sometimes He does not, and we have grieved the loss of family members who were very young. But He also does, and I have many stories. This is the first time for me and there’s something really different about the experience. It has brought me into some kind of greater intimacy with Him.

    • #11
  12. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Recently my friend asked me to pray for him and I wasn’t really feeling like it at the moment, but because he asked, I agreed. Feeling nothing in particular and not really expecting anything, I prayed anyway, and to my amazement, he told me the pain had left him. A week later, he told me it was still gone. When I think of all the times that I felt really serious about prayer and quoted scripture to myself and others and did not see anything happen…

    Well, I know it wasn’t me.

    That’s beautiful.

    • #12
  13. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    A quote I first heard 20 years ago from a Pastor friend now serving in St. Marys, GA: “We serve a means God”.

    It isn’t at all contradictory to observe that another Christian friend in a different part of Georgia was emergency flighted home from Norway six years ago and the medicos didn’t really expect him to last through the flight.

    Glad you are well, I look forward to your posts.

    • #13
  14. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    God-LovingWoman: It’s a sad confession, isn’t it? Anyone who writes under the pen name God-Loving Woman ought to be swimming daily laps in God’s infinite pool of grace.

    Nah. You just thought you were close to the edge.

    You weren’t.

    • #14
  15. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Percival (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman: It’s a sad confession, isn’t it? Anyone who writes under the pen name God-Loving Woman ought to be swimming daily laps in God’s infinite pool of grace.

    Nah. You just thought you were close to the edge.

    You weren’t.

    How do you do that? Took my breath away. Thank you Percival

    • #15
  16. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Chuck (View Comment):

    A quote I first heard 20 years ago from a Pastor friend now serving in St. Marys, GA: “We serve a means God”.

    It isn’t at all contradictory to observe that another Christian friend in a different part of Georgia was emergency flighted home from Norway six years ago and the medicos didn’t really expect him to last through the flight.

    Glad you are well, I look forward to your posts.

    Yes, we do … we do … we do! And yes He sooooo is. Thank you for the short but beautiful example. I’m getting giddy with all of what’s happening. I posted an update to Front Seat Cat’s comment that might explain why. Blessings to you Chuck.

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):
    How do you do that?

    It’s hard to get to the edge of infinite.

    • #17
  18. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    RA isn’t what it used to be. Back in the 80s and early 90s you would see severe deformities d/t RA- with current therapy you no longer see that. The difference is stark-most young doctors have never seen the classic hallmarks of advanced RA- like radial deformity of the fingers etc. If you had RA your future prospects are much different than your mother faced. And thank G-d for that!

    • #18
  19. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I’m going with the God theory and that’s the best part of fascinating in your story. Any way you slice it, you had a miracle and I am so happy for you that you’re feeling better!! :-)

    PS Going with that theory, if you are not able to sleep, pray until you fall asleep – just unload your thoughts and pray for others, then you will find your spirit has calmed to where you will fall asleep. We live in strange times and I think everyone is having trouble.

    So … full disclosure. I failed to update the timeframe for my sleeplessness … I actually started writing this post last Thursday, one day before my father in-law was hospitalized. It’s been a whirlwind since. But … the focus of my prayers turned to him. And I dropped the post until I could finish it, which was today.

    Now, this is cool, at least to me. My husband’s brother is the Cliff Clavin of the family, always the one who knows it all and likes to make sure everyone recognizes it. He’s smart, but certainly not the oracle of all wisdom. Anyway, my husband comes home yesterday afternoon and tells me that his brother thinks their dad has just a few weeks. And I say … “don’t underestimate what might happen here, and don’t take your brothers words into your thoughts right now.” To which my oldest daughter chimes in and says, “Yeah, he’s not a doctor!”

    Anyway, this morning upon my mother in-laws arrival at the hospital, Deeda (our nickname for him) was sitting up feeding himself and experiencing only mild pain. He’s coming home today! Deeda and I have a secret pact of prayer between us and clearly he held up his end of the deal.

    That’s good news number 1.

    Good news number 2. I just returned from an appointment with my primary doctor who had not yet reviewed the results of tests ordered by the rheumatologist. When she saw the test results, she was flabbergasted. I just sat there twirling my cross pendant, eyes bright and smiling big under my stupid yellow mask. She was pretty happy, even if she found the whole thing puzzling.

    Giggling lots.

    That’s astonishing!!

    • #19
  20. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Recently my friend asked me to pray for him and I wasn’t really feeling like it at the moment, but because he asked, I agreed. Feeling nothing in particular and not really expecting anything, I prayed anyway, and to my amazement, he told me the pain had left him. A week later, he told me it was still gone. When I think of all the times that I felt really serious about prayer and quoted scripture to myself and others and did not see anything happen…

    Well, I know it wasn’t me.

    That’s beautiful.

    That is amazing!!

    • #20
  21. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Percival (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):
    How do you do that?

    It’s hard to get to the edge of infinite.

    Hah. Good one!

    • #21
  22. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Sincerely praying for others is a great way to merit blessings from G-d.

    • #22
  23. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I’m going with the God theory and that’s the best part of fascinating in your story. Any way you slice it, you had a miracle and I am so happy for you that you’re feeling better!! :-)

    PS Going with that theory, if you are not able to sleep, pray until you fall asleep – just unload your thoughts and pray for others, then you will find your spirit has calmed to where you will fall asleep. We live in strange times and I think everyone is having trouble.

    So … full disclosure. I failed to update the timeframe for my sleeplessness … I actually started writing this post last Thursday, one day before my father in-law was hospitalized. It’s been a whirlwind since. But … the focus of my prayers turned to him. And I dropped the post until I could finish it, which was today.

    Now, this is cool, at least to me. My husband’s brother is the Cliff Clavin of the family, always the one who knows it all and likes to make sure everyone recognizes it. He’s smart, but certainly not the oracle of all wisdom. Anyway, my husband comes home yesterday afternoon and tells me that his brother thinks their dad has just a few weeks. And I say … “don’t underestimate what might happen here, and don’t take your brothers words into your thoughts right now.” To which my oldest daughter chimes in and says, “Yeah, he’s not a doctor!”

    Anyway, this morning upon my mother in-laws arrival at the hospital, Deeda (our nickname for him) was sitting up feeding himself and experiencing only mild pain. He’s coming home today! Deeda and I have a secret pact of prayer between us and clearly he held up his end of the deal.

    That’s good news number 1.

    Good news number 2. I just returned from an appointment with my primary doctor who had not yet reviewed the results of tests ordered by the rheumatologist. When she saw the test results, she was flabbergasted. I just sat there twirling my cross pendant, eyes bright and smiling big under my stupid yellow mask. She was pretty happy, even if she found the whole thing puzzling.

    Giggling lots.

    Giggling is a great thing! From your posts, you seem to be very honest, hard even, with yourself. God loves that and He wishes for peace, (and giggling) and more restful nights for you! He knows your huge heart and He is thrilled by that!  Keep posting, your honesty is very refreshing for those of us who are not so authentic.

    • #23
  24. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Columbo (View Comment):
    Giggling is a great thing! From your posts, you seem to be very honest, hard even, with yourself. God loves that and He wishes for peace, (and giggling) and more restful nights for you! He knows your huge heart and He is thrilled by that!  Keep posting, your honesty is very refreshing for those of us who are not so authentic.

    Thank you, Lieutenant. I’m heartened by that fact that you get what I’m trying to put out there.

    I am itching to write and hope to carve out time soon. I’m starting to feel that my health is being targeted by the enemy only because two other issues have now popped up since Wednesday of this past week. I’m finding some humor in it, not that I taunt the enemy, but God is having His way while reminding me that I ought not make my health an idol; which it has been for many years. Former body building runner athlete here who is dealing with sudden signs of aging. Vanity is on the altar!

    Your prayers are coveted. You are a great encourager and I for one always find new energy from your comments. I will try to read more as time starts opening up with my youngest returning to school full time tomorrow. yippee

    • #24