Jasmine was in the ICU for three weeks when I was told she would never regain consciousness. This was a total shock, and I needed time to process it. I was not ready to “let her go.” Standing beside her the next night, I witnessed her oxygen absorption drop from 92% (which is okay) to percentages in the low 80s (which is not okay). For two hours, the pulmonary specialists tried their best to stabilize her. I had to leave the hospital because it was beyond visiting hours while they continued to work on her.
I left with angst in my gut. My spirit was troubled. The monitors measuring her vital signs indicated that her system was declining. With deep sorrow, I conceded that the time had come to transition off artificial life support and place the final stage of this journey entirely into God’s hands.
Leaving Fort Worth, I felt like I was driving the 48-mile journey home on autopilot. Out of the fogginess of my mind emerged a random thought:
There are three ways we can raise our hand to God. We can raise an accusative finger, blaming Him for what we perceive as unnecessary pain or unfulfilled promises. We can raise an angry fist in His face because we feel He caused the “bad stuff” that happened. Or we can raise an open hand, offering up anything we are holding onto and receiving whatever He decides to place in it.
In my lifetime, I have probably done the first two; I know for sure that I have done the second. Troubling thoughts such as these raise questions:
Do we have the right to raise our hand to God with an accusative finger or a fist of anger?
What does this say about our relationship with God?
How does God respond to it?
God is holy, so we do not have the right to complain or express anger toward Him, right?
God has His ways of humbling us. We do not always like His ways. Sometimes the things we accuse Him of or are angry about are His means and methods to break our hardened hearts and reshape us into the character of Christ from the inside out. It may feel like cruel and undeserved punishment. Still, in His infinite wisdom, it is a necessary step in His molding process.
It is humbling to realize that God loves us so much that He would even bring pain, if that is what it takes, to break us of our self-centeredness and become more like Christ. Genuine humility is not a natural human trait. It is the product of breaking and transforming a yielded heart to the Holy Spirit. We grow in an intimate relationship with God through a humble heart. I am not yet fully there, but He is molding me. It starts with raising an open hand. We offer up whatever we are holding onto, and He replaces it with His peace, enabling us to move forward.