Today something happened. Today I went to church angry at God. I mean, really, really angry.
I woke up this morning still unsure of why I had to go through the accident. In my anger, I demanded a reason from God. I begged and pleaded to understand.
I kept telling myself, and Him that if He would just give me a reason, I would be okay. I needed to know what lesson He was trying to teach me, because to be honest, I hadn’t really learned anything from it.
When I reflected back on what happened, I still couldn’t get anything from it. What was I missing? I begged and pleaded again for Him to just explain Himself, but I heard nothing.
And so, I shut down. I stopped asking, and I stopped listening.
You see, I used to run away from God when I was angry. I would hide away from all of it, but today I went there, I went to confront Him. And I went to His house to do it, because I couldn’t find Him anywhere else.
And so I woke up and got ready. I didn’t really think much of my future confrontation. I didn’t bother waking up the rest of my family. I wanted to do this alone. Just me and God.
I grabbed the car keys and I headed out the door. I had my game face on. I was ready.
As I sat behind the wheel, I felt calm. I have been pretty nervous about riding in the car since the accident, but today, today I felt calm. And so I decided that I wouldn’t go out of my way to avoid the road we crashed on. It was the easiest, quickest way to church and so I made the right turn onto Huffsmith.
Now usually, I would have asked God to be with me as I made this journey for the first time by myself, but since I felt betrayed by Him, I asked no one for nothing.
I was doing pretty good in the beginning, but as I approached the place where, just a little over a week ago, everything changed, I began to panic. Tears filled my eyes and my breath became shallow.
I had nothing to cling to, no one to comfort me. I was more alone than ever before, but I still held my ground.
The way I looked at it, He did this to me. I had driven this road so many times before with not a care in the world, but I couldn’t do it anymore because of Him, so I refused to ask Him for help now.
I pulled over and caught my breath. I calmed myself down, and began the rest of my drive.
I made it to church, and I braced myself for my fight. I was nervous. I was intimidated, perhaps, confronting God at His house wasn’t the best idea, but I put on my face, the same face that I had been wearing since this had all began. It was at that moment that I realized I was getting good at playing pretend.
I had people come to me and tell me how thankful to God they were that I was alive, and when I heard it come out of their mouths I faked a nod and a smile, because I was still angry. And after my ride to church, I was even angrier. But I just kept smiling.
I found my seat and I sat alone. I smiled at everyone, but inside I was yelling at God.
“Where were you? What did I do to deserve this? What could my kids have done to deserve this? Why do I have to reassure my four year old, each time we get in the car, that we won’t flip over into the grass? Where were you? I needed you to protect us and you were nowhere to be found! I depended on you and you let me down. You! Of all people, you know how hard it is for me to trust, and you let me down. Why? Do you hear me? Why?? WHY???? Answer me! Please! Just give me an answer! I am begging you!! Answer me!!
I kept yelling inside of my head. I yelled during the songs, I yelled during prayer. I had to fight back the tears. Everyone else was oblivious. Singing along with smiles on their faces, and I, sitting alone, was doing my best to keep it together.
But my Father was patient and He, too, came prepared for the fight.
I could feel Him today. I knew He was there. I knew He was listening to me. And He was waiting for me to give Him a second to respond. I had nothing left to say. I was at a loss of words, and even though I didn’t want to hear anything He had to say, I didn’t have the energy to keep avoiding Him.
Now, one of the things I love most about God, is that He is always full of surprises. I also feel like He is a bit of a show-off. He loves watching my mouth hit the floor. And I imagine Him sitting up in Heaven chuckling at me going “told ya.”
So I listened. I waited for a response. And then I watched the screen at church. And there was my answer, in the form of a video clip about Scott Hamilton, yes, Scott Hamilton, the figure skater.
Had you asked me if I thought that the lesson that I so desperately searched for would come in the form of a Scott Hamilton video, I would have laughed in your face. Because lessons don’t come from Scott Hamilton videos. Because when you plead with God to give you some deep, involved explanation, it doesn’t come from a video about Scott Hamilton.
But remember what I said, He is full of surprises and He knew exactly how to get my attention. And you know what? It worked.
I listened to that video and even though everyone else heard Scott Hamilton talk about his life, I heard His voice talking directly to me.
There He was telling me exactly what I needed to hear, exactly what I had been begging for.
It turned out, (are you ready for this?) He never actually left. He was there. The whole time. (Who didn’t see that coming?)
I needed to get in that accident. I needed to get hurt. I needed to get mad at God. I needed to go through all of this so I could finally step fully and completely into the Kingdom of God.
For so long, I had been walking in circles around the Kingdom. I would trust God when I ran out of my own solutions. There were always stipulations to my relationship with Him. It was a ‘My Way or The Highway’ kind of relationship. And it didn’t matter what He did, I was always the one in the driver’s seat, so He did what He had to do to get my attention.
And the thing is, He was there because He made sure to keep us safe. Who flips a car twice, into a tree, and has everyone in the car walking away from it??? I shouldn’t be here. My friend shouldn’t be here. My kids shouldn’t be here, but because He is God, because He is great, because He is above everything, He was able to flip that van twice into a tree and make sure everyone walked away.
And my four year old asking me each time we get into the car if we are going to fall in the grass? That’s just God reminding me of our relationship. It’s His version of a post-it. I need to be reminded, constantly. It is too easy for me to stop thinking about Him and start thinking about me.
So I left the fight. Some may say that I had been defeated, but I would have to disagree. I left that fight as the winner. I say that because I left knowing He loved me. I left knowing that I would never be alone. And I left knowing that my feet were finally planted firmly in His Kingdom.
Can I get an ‘Amen’?!?