Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mist of Doubt

Can you a recall a day so misty and foggy you could hardly recognize your own front yard. Familiar things were transformed into shadowy figures. It was easy to get disoriented and be haunted by a vague sense of dread. The mist blocked the sun and crowded in too close for comfort.

In the Christian walk, doubt is the mist and fear is the fog. God occasionally allows a front of mist and fog to roll in and obscure the light of His presence, but only for a time. Several fronts have swept through my life recently. They often hit in the middle of the long hours of night shift. Alone in the darkness I wonder about my effectiveness and purpose. You would think that serving as a nurse in the heart of Africa would make one feel heroic--like a Christian superhero. It doesn't. Instead you realize your absolute helplessness to stop the pain and suffering around you. You realize the limits of your human power and see seemingly insurmountable problems crop up at every turn. As the mist of doubt thickens, there are no emotions of comfort or satisfaction. There is no feeling that I am making a difference for eternity. I don't feel like an effective nurse. I don't feel I'm doing all I can. An awful sense of failure and separation from God rolls over me.

During these times I have a choice. Do I believe the illusions of the mist and fog? Do I let them obliterate my every memory of sunshine? All I can do is cry out to God right there in the middle of the spiritual pea soup. He answers by eventually burning away the illusions. The comfort and assurance that follows these gloomy times is incredible. The relief and freedom is beyond description. When the sun breaks through, everything becomes clear.

In truth, the success of God's work here is not up to me. He called me here to be a tool in His hands. Rather than building my pride with heroic life-saving adventures every day, He wisely leads me through the valley of humility. He often veils from my eyes the effects of my labors. I have to simply trust the results to Him. Am I here for human recognition or am I here to walk in the footsteps of my Master?

Whether I feel I am accomplishing much or little, I can be convinced I'm centered in God's will. What more could I want? Surrendering to Him gives such peace. The success of my day is no longer dependent on whether I successfully place a kid's IV or assist in a delivery. My primary work is no longer administering medications or packing wounds. It is simply to live in His presence continually. It is simply to be made a servant, humble and meek, lifting up those who are weak.

Oh Lord, just let me serve. Whether You brought me to Africa to sweep floors or to save a life, I am here to be Yours. Use me in any way You see fit.

. . . and the mist melted.

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