For the last several weeks I have been struggling to sleep, once again. I might go five or six days in a row sleeping only one to three hours per night. On top of that, in November I was hospitalized twice at Duke. I first went for a septic UTI, which kept me there almost a week. Then a week later, I had to go back for a blood infection which also kept me there for about a week. This caused me to miss an entire week of my class which really put me behind.
I found myself really frustrated with my situation, and really frustrated with God. Why are you allowing this to happen to me? What good is it for me to have to be hospitalized so often? Why can’t I sleep throughout the night so I can be productive day in and day out? Growl!
This week a friend sent me these verses from Genesis:
Genesis 32: 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, “I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.”
Jacob was entreating God to help him as he faced his brother Esau. He was convinced that Esau was going to kill him. He acknowledged to God that he was unworthy of His kindness and faithfulness, but still asked God to save him from Esau’s hand. He reminded God of the promise from the past when God vowed to make Jacob prosper.
God has been kind and faithful to me even when I’ve growled at him over my life circumstances over the last couple of months. I am certainly unworthy of His compassion. Like Jacob, I went from nothing to gaining so much when my injury occurred.
When I was able-bodied, before this injury occurred in 2013, I thought I had so much and yet I felt so empty. I had a lot of material things but I didn’t know how to connect with people and was having trouble connecting with God. There were also sins in my life that I was unwilling to give up, and I’m convinced I would have relapsed again and who knows if I would have had another recovery in me. For anyone who has recovered from an addiction, you understand what I mean.
Have I been like Jacob and asked God to save me? Not really. I’ve gotten up in the morning exhausted from not sleeping and have acted cranky towards people and towards God. In retaliation, I’ve gone several days without intentional prayer time and have not sought guidance from the Bible. Yet I’ve spent hours binge-watching Netflix and Amazon Prime, or mindlessly scrolled through social media distracting myself for hours. On the days when I have behaved this way, by nighttime I’ve felt agitated and unfulfilled.
Genesis 32: 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
I am a lot like Jacob. Just before my injury, I asked God to do whatever he had to do to get me in a right relationship with Him. I’m not saying the “did” this to me (will any of us ever know?), but for whatever reason this catastrophic event happened, it was worth it to me. God used it in a powerful way to draw me near to Him and open up doors to do things I never imagined I would do. Getting a MA in counseling is something that I never would have done when I was able-bodied. I wanted to do something that would make more money. Now I look forward helping others based on what I’ve learned in my life, whether unpaid or not.
I’ve come to this conclusion and blogged about it many times before, but my trials produce perseverance and make me mature and complete (Jam 1:1-5). When my heart and mind are set on things above and not earthly things (Col 3:1-2), I realize what I’ve gone through over the past almost 8 years, is simply making me more holy. Like Jacob, I need to wrestle with God over these issues rather than tuning out and numbing my mind. God will reveal His will to me and lead me to powerfully overcome my weaknesses.