To read from the beginning of this memoir: Click Here
Tempted by Bitterness
I must confess that along with the many bitter days of winter there was a time the bitterness came to threaten my soul. In some ways it reminded me of the story of Jonah.
I have always been disgusted by Jonah’ attitude after he delivered the message to the Ninevites, while he sat waiting for God to strike them.
Picture Jonah overlooking the city.
He was basically having a pity party because of God’s choice to show compassion and spare the repentant people. God decides to teach Jonah a little lesson about how much care he has for people created in his image who are trapped in violence. The book ends like this,
Jonah’s anger at the Lord’s compassion
“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’
But the Lord replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’
Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, ‘It would be better for me to die than to live.’
But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’
‘It is,’ he said. ‘And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.’
But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?’
Jonah 4 New International Version
I thought Jonah had some real issues. But I have my own.
It wasn’t easy racing to the clinic all the time. It was hard on the children left at home, and my pregnant body. I was tired. My spirit was all in, yet my flesh groaned.
Why did I need to keep doing the same thing day in and day out?
Hadn’t I more than carried this message by now? Hadn’t God taken note of my many prayers here? It hardly seemed to have any effect.
I would smile and wave as the doctor and clinic workers passed and no big deal. They came back every day to continue on. Abortion didn’t seem to bother them one iota. It had been almost two months since a patient had even taken a single brochure from me.
My tears had all but dried and there I was tied to this sidewalk by a promise I had made to try. But I couldn’t quit.
God must love all these folks a lot more than I was capable of.
I thought Jonah was a jerk, but when I searched inside myself I found that if it were up to me alone, I would have abandoned ship long ago.
I was tempted to pray, “Please Lord, just let the pregnant lady of the hook now.”
If God called me to deliver a message and I bailed, certainly he could replace me, but what did that say of me? I prayed for God to give me the love I needed so I could love like he does.
Praise be to God. He didn’t give up on me.
Instead he sent me a heart softening dream. In the dream I was invited to a work party inside the clinic. I sat eating food with these clinic workers who were so precious to God, I listened to some small talk and noticed, up close, the worn out countenance of one who had been fighting the wrong battle for far too long.
I was filled afresh with compassion. It was a dream that struck all the bitterness in my heart a deadly blow. From then on, I pondered it whenever I faced discouragement.
Around that same time on a particularly cold morning, a man showed up. He asked if he could pray for me. Oh course I said, “Yes! Yes! Please do!” Placing his hand on my back he covered my ministry there in prayer, then went away. The Lord knew exactly what I needed.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
January brought with it a surprising week without the doctor.
Where, oh where, was the doctor?
By the end of that week we had figured out that he was in jail! In December he had been sentenced with DUI. Some pro-life individuals looked into it further and discovered a record of prior convictions including domestic assault with a deadly weapon that had gone unreported to the medical board.
The story eventually went to the news and I was able to read for myself the details his wife had written about the incident. My heart was deeply grieved.
After the doctor served his time in jail, he began arriving to the clinic earlier than I was able to get there.
Up until this point I was able to greet him almost every day. I wrote this on my blog for him, but never sent it …
It has been quite some time since I have been able to greet you. The new schedule you’ve adopted makes that almost impossible. Although we rarely cross paths I continue to pray for your heart.
There is this question that beats unending throughout my time of prayer at your clinic.
Doctor, Doctor, why do you continually unknit what he is masterfully knitting together?
Why do you unknit the beautiful work of his hands? Oh that you would know for yourself the life giving kindness of the Lord! He has compassion on all he has made!
May you see the beauty in tiny bodies of the unborn hidden within their mothers and feel his tender compassion.
You also, are a priceless treasure, a masterpiece in a jar of clay.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 (NIV)
Measure me universe, am I alive?
Do I hold value? Should I survive? My placental earth shines, like a sapphire in the Son’s blinking eye.
Can you see me?
Measure me universe. Speak of my being. Bestow upon me my purpose and meaning. As I breathe in the amniotic atmosphere,
Measure me universe. What will you say? With one speeding meteor I could pass away, unnoticed by you, a light-less speck among the chorus of stars filling your 10 billion galaxies.
Though you cannot measure me, in one moment I came to life,
Smaller than a sparrow.
My worth measured by the One who birthed time,
wielding His measuring tool divine,
To continue reading click here: Umbrellas, A Cross, A Step to Take (Part 13)