A Burning in my Belly

I feel like Jacob wrestling God.

I thought I was finished with this. God and I wrestled quite a bit during my sister’s illness and then after her death. I thought I had reached the other side. I no longer wrestle with the loss of someone so dear to me, yet I’ve found myself questioning inside and out a lot lately.

It’s strange. But lately I struggle with some very basic precepts of our faith. One minute I am proclaiming His divine sovereignty in every minute (mi-noot) detail in my life, and the next I am disagreeing with a book on that very topic. One second I’m claiming the power of prayer and then my words seem shallow and empty as I tell someone I’ll pray for them. It’s as if they are trite. Cliche. Yet I know in the other side of my brain, the faithful side, these are powerful words and God is somehow in control.

I felt a little comfort when I read these words in The Help. One of the black leaders of their community has been shot by a member of the KKK. The two black maids, whose stories are told in the book, are sitting in Minny’s kitchen listening tentatively to the radio for more information. The announcer comes across the waves with a somber voice as he proclaims the death of this husband, father, and leader trying to make a difference in a very unfair world. Aibileen (the one who writes her prayers) narrates: “We gone pray for the Everses, we gone to pray for Myrlie…” but it sound so empty, so I stop.

Just when I question the sovereignty of God, He does this. He puts the very words I said to myself (give or take a few) the night before and which I felt guilty entertaining, in a book I’m reading for fun. No theology or devotional book.

It was as if He were yelling down from heaven. But His yell was comforting and assuring.

I’m not alone in my thoughts and doubts.

This morning as I sat with the Lord, writing down my prayer, I found myself asking for a burning in my belly when I promise to pray for people. A burning spurred by the goodness and power of the God I’m petitioning absent of doubt that the prayer will make a difference.

I think that is called faith.

I’m asking for more faith. Anybody else want to join me in this prayer?

Much grace and peace,

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