Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The God of All Mysteries

I struggle with anxiety.  Not just normal lose a little sleep anxiety, but weight on the chest, aching stomach, can’t breathe, miss a month of sleep anxiety.  In college I went twice to the ER because I felt like I was suffocating.  The first time the doctor didn’t listen to me and gave me an inhaler for asthma  (albuterol = racing heart…not good in the midst of an anxiety attack) the second time I was put on anti-anxiety medicine.  Neither “solution” ever truly resolved the issue; the former exacerbated the problem, while the latter messed me up in other ways.  After nearly a year of no change with the anti-anxiety medication I took myself off of it.  This lead to such severe dizziness I was scared to drive myself around.  And the attacks continued.

I could not fix my problem.

I struggle with insomnia.  Not just losing a few hours of sleep here and there every month or so, but fear based, fight or flight mode adrenaline, lose months of sleep insomnia.  Often I joke that I came out of the womb with insomnia (ask my poor mother, she’ll tell you how I did not sleep for the first four years of my life) but in the midst of it, it never feels like cause for laughter.  Sleep comes only when my body eventually gives up to grab a few hours before the alarm goes off and I’m required to make it through another day.  Home remedies, OTC sleep aides, chamomile tea…you name it, I tried it, and they all failed.

I was hopeless to change anything, and often I found myself in despair.

Then God graciously gave me relief.  I can’t pinpoint one day or one breakthrough, but the attacks eased, the fear calmed, and sleep came.  For a full year I lived alone without a severe bout of insomnia, something unheard of for me before, and I can hardly remember the last time I experienced the suffocating weight of an anxiety attack. 

These two particular struggles and their subsequent relief (no matter how brief) remain a mystery to me; threatening forces I neither understand nor have ability to fight, that once sucked away energy, and threatened my joy.  But the thing is there are no mysteries with God.  In fact, He is the God of all mysteries.

In my local church we are going through the book of Daniel.  Last week we studied the passage in which King Nebuchadnezzar asked all the wise men to interpret a dream he did not understand.  The catch was that he also wanted them to tell him what it was.  When they could not reveal this mystery, he ordered that they all be killed.  In steps Daniel.  He himself could not perform the task for the king, but the God he served could.  Not only was the captive Israelite able to tell the king his dream, but he was also able to offer the interpretation:  the kingdoms of this world will fall, but an everlasting one is coming, one that will fill the whole earth.

A comforting interpretation for King Nebuchadnezzar, this was not, yet he promoted Daniel because of it and worshiped his God.  Why?  Really I can only guess but I think it was because this proved that the God of Israel is in fact the God of mysteries, and if so this was a God that deserved honor: “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Daniel 2:47

My own struggles in this world, big and small, are often somewhat mysterious to me.  I don’t know the future, I worry far too much about it and my decisions, I am a finite creature…but I worship an infinite God, the God of mysteries, and by His grace I am His child.  So whether this relief I am experience is forever or only temporary, I can rest in His arms, know that nothing is beyond His understanding, and that one day in the true kingdom I will experience true rest with my Heavenly Father.

Daniel 2:19-23

19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; 20 Daniel said,
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and [
ab]establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to [
ac]men of understanding.
22 “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
23 “To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”

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