I came across this statement while listening to Margaret Feinberg a lady who God has used to encourage me severally. The question she asked God was this: “has anyone praised you at this very latitude and longitude?”. At that moment she was under an MRI machine getting a scan. This was right in the middle of her battle with cancer.
How do you even get to thanking or praising God in the midst of your darkest moments? I’ve always been amazed by Job when I read about his reaction immediately after he lost everything. I imagined I’d also be inspired to do the same. Well, let’s just say that when you’re the one on the spot, that’s easier said than done.
This past week wasn’t easy at all. I had been busy trying to come to terms with a diagnosis the doctor gave me. There were numerous changes to be made and that alone was overwhelming me. Then the drugs came with their own side effects until I got to a point where taking them would almost depress me.
Speaking of which, as the week started, anxiety and depression kept threatening. Spent almost two days locked up in the house and mostly in bed. I cried enough during that time. The symptoms of whatever I was diagnosed with were taking a toll on me. It was all too much to bear. Now to add salt to the injury, I had exams to prepare for! How on earth would I even study in the midst of all this?
Well, one day at a time, that’s what I decided to do. Then I made it for midweek bible study and I came back all fired up and having my faith revived. I was determined to trust God no matter how things looked. I had just learnt how faith is a journey to God not a journey to results. I was going to believe in God whether I saw results or not.
That was until I got back only to discover some other health complication had arisen. The next morning I woke up feeling like I couldn’t take it anymore. How is one person supposed to handle all that? After plenty of conversations with God, I somehow got the strength to even go for a meeting across town. Things were finally looking up and I had such a great time.
The next day, I was back to square one. Feeling quite dejected, I figured I might as well defer my exams and do them next year. I didn’t have the energy or grace to handle health issues and their drama as well as manage to study for the Bar exams. Thankfully, by the end of that day, I’d gotten enough encouragement to change my mind.
So today, my main question to God as the day started was, how does faith look like in this current situation? How would He want my faith to look like? Secondly, how do I genuinely praise you when no part of me feels like it? I wanted to know how I could practically do that.
I realised that sometimes, all it takes is getting out of bed. Other times, it’s that feeble ‘thank you’ to God because you are down but not out. Sometimes it’s a tearful prayer accompanied by sobs or even flowing tears when words won’t come. It could be listening to that playlist that explains best how you feel or the one that God uses to get you out of despair. Maybe even dragging yourself around and doing what needs to be done in spite of everything. Most of all, it means taking your eyes off the circumstances threatening you and fixing your gaze on He who has power over everything.
Therefore, in this latitude where I can’t even eat onions or garlic (goodness, how’s food to taste without those!), I’m grateful I can still use tomatoes and carrots. In this longitude where the future seems bleak, I’m glad I still have this present moment and an assurance that He’ll never leave me nor forsake me. In this exact place, I thank God that inasmuch as I don’t comprehend (or like) any of this; He promises that it will work out for my good.
A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. So when storms rise up, be happy. This pain, loss, sickness, heartache or whatever hurt; not only will it pass eventually, but you’ll be stronger because of it.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT)