When M’s fever was at 104 she laid her head on my chest and fell asleep. She rested in my arms and snuggled up close. She placed a hand on my chest, as the other arm hung down.
We stayed like that for a long time.
But when her fever dipped to 100.4 she struggled, she complained, she whinnied like a horse, she couldn’t sit still, couldn’t settle. My chest was no longer of comfort to her. My heartbeat no longer soothed. She wasn’t as sick as she had been but she was behaving as if she was more so.
When I was really struggling with my faith I hardly struggled at all. Apathy caught hold and in a fever of nothingness, life just went on. I laid my head down, I closed my eyes. I found comfort in the rhythm and routine of religion, but beyond that I really didn’t care.
When my eyes were opened however, I ran around like a crazy woman. I used all the words I had to all the people who would listen. I made sense or I didn’t make sense and I just didn’t care. Laying my head down was no longer an option, I knew too much to stay still. Closing my eyes again didn’t work, they wouldn’t stay shut, I knew what lay beyond the lids.
Now with my eyes wide open I see the beauty in rest, in the comfort of rhythm and routine. But the old words and ways no longer bind me, they provide me with solace and a place to retreat to when rest is needed. Where once Sunday morning was a way to check a box and blindly stay on track, it is now a source of living water. I also still use all the words to all the people, and I’m sure I still sound like a crazy woman. But I wrestle with my faith, with my God, with the Word, and I wrap my mind around things that will unravel and re-wind tomorrow. And I find my hope in oft spoken words, and a man-God that walked this earth once and loves me still.
Genesis 32 tells the story of Jacob wrestling with God, and it is in verse 25 that I most often find myself. “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” Jacob was left alone, but was not alone, and he wrestled with his God till daybreak, not knowing with whom he was wrestling.
I may feel apart sometimes, I may fall apart sometimes, but I will wrestle till daybreak.