Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Keys, Please!!

I filled up my car with gasoline for the first time today since the beginning of August. The price was rather high at $2.71 a gallon but I did not complain. Rather, I gave thanks for the ability to drive again.

It was on August 16 when I was told not to drive for a while. I left the hospital with a certain diagnosis that was anything but certain. In fact, three doctors have since told me that I was misdiagnosed at the hospital - that the doctors were too quick to draw a conclusion with no substantial evidence to back it up.

I grieved for several days at the thought of not being able to drive. I spent a lot of time pouring through train schedules and bus schedules trying to figure out how best to get around. I bought new shoes and a weatherproof coat. I purchased an iPhone, getting a smart phone for the first time. I woke my husband up early on Sunday mornings, eagerly accepting his offer for a ride downtown. I inquired of a couple of people if they would be willing to drive me somewhere. And, I cried. I cried a lot.

I saw a neurologist a few weeks ago who first told me how he thought I had been misdiagnosed. He referred me to a cardiologist affiliated with the same hospital, and I went to see this doctor last Wednesday. Prior to my appointment, I asked several people to please pray for me.

I had a specific prayer, "Please pray that the doctor will tell me I am okay to drive again." I did not ask people to pray that we would find a specific diagnosis. I did not ask people to pray that I would be healed. Rather, I asked people to pray that I would have control again. I asked people to pray that I could be in charge of my schedule again with me behind the wheel instead of on a bus, train or in the car of another. In all honesty, the hardest part of these last six weeks has not been knowing that something might be wrong with my heart but rather losing control. I like to be in charge. I prefer being independent instead of dependent. I don't like relying on others. I hesitate asking for help.

The doctor granted me my wish. When I inquired, "Can I drive again?" he immediately replied, "Of course you can. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot drive." I rejoiced. I literally went skipping out of his office. I got what I asked for - but we're not anywhere closer to discovering what exactly is wrong with me. I got what I prayed for. Yet, there still could be something wrong with my heart.

We're good at asking God for control. We are rather proficient at telling God exactly what we want. We tell God how God needs to provide us with a larger house, a new job, a baby in our womb, a new best friend, control over a certain situation, a way out of some relationship, a winning lottery ticket, a better working environment and the list goes on and on. We tell God exactly what we believe we need. We're good at treating our relationship with God as though we are the ones who are in control - as though we are the people who know what's best for our lives. We know what we need. It does not matter what God thinks. And even when God gives us what we ask for, we so often fail to express thanksgiving. Rather, we continue the illusion of control.

But I realized last week that I may have gotten it all wrong. I've thought a lot about how I may have missed the mark in my prayer request. Perhaps I fell short of asking for what I really need - a clean bill of health and not the keys to my Jeep.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God tells Jeremiah, "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future filled with hope." God continues, "Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord..." God is working with Jeremiah, trying to get Jeremiah to trust God again. God wants Jeremiah to know that God has a plan, that God is in charge, and that God will bless Jeremiah. Jeremiah simply has to trust. God does not tell Jeremiah that he will get exactly what he wants. Rather, God tells Jeremiah that God will be with him and that the gift of God's presence will be enough.

Proverbs 3:5-7 reads, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes..." The wisdom of the Proverb is found in trusting God's ways and not our ways. The blessing is discovered when we let go of trying to control things, trying to figure out things, trying to solve each puzzle placed before us.

God invites us to trust - to let go of the control. God beckons us to turn the keys over and see where we'll be taken. God invites us to offer our full lives into the hands of God.

I have so often believed that I knew what was best for me. I have told God regularly what I need. All the while, I have often failed to pray, "God show me what you believe is best for me. Help me to relinquish control and trust in you fully. Show me your way, your path, your plans."

I'm driving again - but I'm praying each day that I can continue to relinquish some of the need to be in control.

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