[ISAIAH 9:6] The last ten minutes of my massage, Erin unexpectedly begins to pray over me. I'm on my stomach on the massage table with my face squished between the padding of the circular head support.
I had stubbornly been trying to hold it together for awhile even though I hadn't felt consistently well for over a year. I start to cry and am embarrassed to turn over when she is done. She quietly walks to the door, tells me her family is going to a dinner party, and to lock the door behind me whenever I'm ready to leave.
I prop myself halfway up on my elbows self-conscious about having cried and being alone in a stranger's house and I see a cardinal sitting on the outside windowsill looking directly at me. He stays longer than most birds will when they realize that they are being watched and he weirdly looks familiar to me. When I get home, I realize it was Akiane's painting of Jesus. There is something about the shadows and angles of his dark beard, eyebrows, and nose that look like the cardinal.
Afterwards, I get a little obsessed with the painting --not just because it's a haunting portrait-- but because I really want to see Jesus. For awhile I had taken a 'defensive' approach with my health. I tried to wait out the symptoms and I put exercise, time off from work, and my diet on a back burner until I felt better. It wasn't working. It took an active mentality to fight it. I had to force myself to eat even when I felt like my stomach couldn't handle it, exercise even if it meant just for a half hour, and maintain hope even if I had an off day and couldn't sleep.
I called a counselor; I moved homes; I used vacation and personal days at work. Since then, I've been able to get off most of the meds that I once was prescribed.
As I worked on this collage, I realized that I needed to approach Jesus with the same type of heart. I was familiar with the Bible verses...
--"Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually." 1 CHRON 16:11;
--"When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek." PSALMS 27:8
--"I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me." PROV 8:17
(+ close to 80 more..)
Scripture practically begs us to look for Him, but I think that we often give up. I had at least accepted that it was okay to be in a 'desert' season and that it was okay to rest. I was tired. I didn't want to play Hide and Seek. I managed to give Him the minimal. I still prayed most days but I was mad at the silence. I was mad that I wasn't getting well. A friend told me later, "I wondered where you went."
I stared at the following scripture for a few months while I worked on it: ISAIAH 9:6: For us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
No matter how hard I tried, it looked like a child's piece of art. I realized i couldn't draw a horse to save my life. I was looking at several paintings of angel wings and then looked at mine and felt defeated.
Toward the end of it, I took it down to the kitchen to show Twon, one of my former housemates. He's chewing on an apple, puts up a 'wait-a-minute' finger, walks to the record player, and hands me this vinyl:
I don't say anything. We both laugh and I walk back upstairs. He's absolutely right. I somehow made this look like the Bootsy album cover. Lord, help me.
But that's the point, the reason Jesus died on the cross, was resurrected, and His Spirit was given to us was to help us. There are infinite things to find about the character of God. It's our responsibility to seek Him.
PSALM 139: 7-12
"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."