God, I am really disappointed in You. My heart sank as I hesitantly scrawled the words onto the pages of my journal. I was not sure what hurt worse—the actual disappointment or the fact that I was verifying my disappointment by writing it out. The same journal held pages of triumph from my time of missions work in Cambodia. How did it come to this? I can’t think of anything good that has happened since I have been home. I have been sick for weeks with pneumonia. I have no money. The hope I did have in seeing You move in my family is gone. They seem worse off than before. The intense desire that I used to have to minister to people is almost gone. I am the one who needs to be ministered to! The blue ink blurred as tears flooded my eyes. What happened to me? I was always the steady one—the ‘rock.’ My teammates in Cambodia were baffled by my persistent smile and joy in the midst of dying AIDS patients and starving children. It was not a mask either. My joy was real. If only they could see me now!
King David and I always had one thing in common: our cries to God always ended in praise. I closed the pages of my journal and tossed it onto my nightstand. How much a person can change in just a couple of months! I scarcely had the strength to cry His name, much less praise Him in the midst of my disappointment. This was not just a bad day. For three months I felt as if everything I held close had been ripped away and carelessly trampled on. I buried my face in my pillow as sobs burst forth.
Michelle, I love you. I lifted my head slowly from the pillow. His voice was too clear to ignore. I sighed and sank my head back into my pillow as if to say, I hear You, God. But I am not giving up that easily. You hurt me! Just as I was getting comfortable, He spoke again.
Michelle, can I cry with you? Even in all the fluffy depths of my pillow, my shock could not be hidden. For months I had persevered in the most difficult of circumstances to share the love of God with those who were within breaths of entering either Heaven or Hell. I knew all about His compassion, His tender love, His healing grace for the least of the least. I told them over and over that Jesus was standing right with them in the midst of their pain and desperation. I shook my head in amazement as my throat tightened in sadness. I knew it all, and yet I had never received it for myself.
It has been almost a month since that night, and yet there is not one day that has passed since then in which I do not remember how God touched me. I will never forget the way my heart lifted as I felt His tender love embrace me. He did not try to silence my feelings or deny them. He saw the disappointment in my heart and the tears in my eyes, and, moved by compassion, He cried with me. He saw me. He loved me. Psalm 10:17 says, You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry (my emphasis).
It was so easy to accept God’s love for me when I was humbly serving God in the dirty and most hopeless situations. I could not imagine God loving me more than when I was suffering for Him. Upon returning home, it was necessary that God break me.
Now I am doing ‘nothing’ for God—apart from daily falling at His feet in worship of Him. It is in this desperate place that I have learned more about God’s love than I did in years of teaching and missions work. My circumstances have not changed in the months that I have been home. I still have no money. My closest friends have also returned to their homes, thousands of miles away from me. My health has returned, but I still face the comments of critics who do not understand the richness of a life spent at His feet. Though I lack for many things, I am unimaginably rich in His love, peace, and joy.
Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him, for He shields them all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12