I have always thought that being a believer in Christ meant that no matter what happened on this side of eternity, I would eventually prevail and have a testimony of how I overcame. I believed that trials and tribulations would come but by God’s grace, I would conquer them and be able to testify of God’s goodness in allowing me to come through on the other side. I still largely believe this. There is a level of victory reserved for those whose steps are being ordered by the God of Heaven. Nobody can convince me otherwise. Lately, however, my theology has gotten more refined. I am being persuaded now more than ever than the testimonies of God’s goodness can come even in the midst of the storms, even if my ship wrecks on a deserted island, and even if the rescue helicopter never comes. I hate to paint such a morbid picture but just bear with me.
In the middle of the most intense warfare I have faced in recent memory, I recognize that my testimony is not on the other side of this mountain. My testimony is right here. The fact that God allowed the panic attack I suffered in February to lead me to a licensed therapist and counselor is a miracle. By all measures, the first strike of this ordeal could have been the killing blow. For a woman who thrives on routine and normalcy, this level of shaking in my life should have been my undoing. But surprisingly, it drove me deeper into my quest for deliverance. The fact that God is allowing me to uncover, uproot and vanquish the paralyzing fear I had carried for almost 36 years is nothing short of a deep expression of His mercy towards me. Had my life not been shaken in this way, I very well could have lived with this kind of fear for the rest of my life, allowing it to lay dormant as long as it is not triggered. Being delivered for real and forever is a testimony in itself and I cannot wait until I can finally say that fear does not have me, in any way shape or form.
Furthermore, the timing of this particular shaking is running side by side with my efforts to fully embrace my passions and gifts. My desire to write and publish is a passion that I had relegated to “hobby” status for so long that deciding to make this my full-time work is a radical step of faith. Having my sense of normalcy uprooted by virtue of this attack seems particularly ironic when you consider the fact that I was already looking for a new normal. I was closing my decade-old practice to pursue outside employment. And I was determined to use my prospective salary to fund my dreams. Eleven months after I revamped my blog, nine months into my new line of work, and two weeks after a new door was opened for me, fear came knocking with the force of a thousand winds. It seemed even if I wanted things to remain exactly as they had been, the option was no longer on the table.
Again for someone who hates change of any kind (moving, employment changes, major purchases, you name it), having the doors shut so firmly behind me before I knew where to walk next filled me with a different kind of dread. But for the first time in a long time, the fear of change was nothing compared to the fear of staying the same and hating my life for another second more.
So, in the middle of what I will call the worst moments of my life so far, I am still experiencing an exuberant amount of breakthrough. The comfort-seeker in me would love for the battle to be over and the victory won already. The trigger would be over and my fearful response would be a moot point. I can’t be afraid if there is no longer anything to be afraid of. But as a woman of faith, I know that this is not always how life works. So, in confronting my fears I have had to face the question “what would happen if the worst were to happen?” And I realize that the answer, terrifying as it may be for my mind to comprehend, is also strangely comforting.
If my life loses all sense of what it was just a year before.
If everything I am desperately fighting for blows up in my face.
If I have to eat the consequences of not just my behavior but the wrongdoing of others…God will still be God.
He will still hold all power in His hands. He will still have absolute control over my life and the direction it takes. He will still be the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end – of all my life, situations and circumstances. He will still be the God who makes a way where there seems to be no way. He will still be the God who vindicates. He will still be the God who only does wondrous things. He will still be the God who gives beauty for ashes. He will still be the God who turns mourning into dancing. He will still be the God who causes those who sow in tears to reap in joy. He will still be the God who sees in secret and rewards openly. In short, even if my life blows up right now – God will still be God. Even if the victory I long to see is only reserved for the other side of eternity, my present suffering take absolutely nothing away from the character of God. And that alone is more comfort to me than simply having God remove the challenges I am presently facing.
He is God alone and He alone is God. And that is enough.