Wailing into Dancing

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I have wailed. Yesterday, I wailed as I lay on the floor face down in excruciating pain from yet another Crohn’s flare-up. The pain is beyond anything I can describe. I have begged and pleaded with God, in these moments of overwhelming agony, to please heal me. Then, I wail. “Why aren’t you listening? Why don’t you heal me? I believe you can heal me but you’re not doing it. Why?” These are not moments of simple tears or crying but full blown wailing. This is my heart and spirit broken and begging God for relief.  As I lay there yesterday, anguished tears flooding my face, I heard the still, small voice. “Listen to me.” I was entreating God to listen to ME and he was asking me to listen to HIM!

I pulled myself up from the floor, still dealing with undulating cramps and pain, and wiped my tears from my face. I sat down and opened my Bible even though it was the last thing I wanted to do when my body was screaming for relief. Psalm 30 was my recommended reading for the day and it was God speaking to me. Full of healing and hope and rescue from despair even in the midst of pain. “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.” (30:2-3) The pit of despair and despondency called to me but God spared me from falling into it. How easy it is, when pain grips your body in a ruthless vice, to give in to depression and self-pity. To wail at God, “Why aren’t you listening?” Even in those moments God is there and if we call on him he will rescue us from the dark realm of death and bring us light. “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (30:5)

These moments of feeling utterly helpless against the onslaught of pain are the times we learn to become deeply dependent on God. When we feel secure, it is easy to overlook our need for him but when we are face down on the floor we understand our dependence on him. “Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.” (30:10) We beg for God’s mercy when we realize we are nothing, we have nothing, without him. Then, we find relief and our souls can rest.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord, my God, I will praise you forever.” (30:11-12) I read this verse as a promise from God. My wailing and my pain would be turned into dancing and joy. It will not last forever. Maybe God will heal me and maybe I will have more moments of wailing but I will praise God in those moments knowing he is beside me. And I will dance!

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