My brain is scattered by two weeks of overload. Of people overload. Of story overload. Of emotion overload.
Questions bubble up and back like the loose tea leaves rolling around in my boiling morning chai.
I collapse into the chair for Sunday morning’s service. We’re early and I lean forward, hoping the chatty guest with me will give me two minutes of silence. I tune out the worship band practicing and pray, “Lord, I’m here because I have to be.”
My mind flashes to the cool, green gardens I wish I were sitting in. Journal open, Bible in my lap, waiting for the mental fog to clear.
“But I believe you can speak to me here too.” Surrounded by congregants and peppy worship music and the guests who I don’t know but who are staying in the house I’m house-sitting.
The music starts, I remain seated when they tell us to stand. I cannot seem to muster the energy to pull myself up. I sit empty and conflicted. Every once in a while, I sing along.
We sing about God’s faithfulness and one of the tea leaves boils out of the pot and lays flopping on the stove.
“Here’s one of your questions,” God says.
“I know you’re faithful,” I say.
“Do you, now?” God says.
“Of course. I went to Bible college,” I say.
“Uhu,” God says.
“I am kind of mad at you, though,” I say.
“I know that too,” God says.
My shoulders sag, “I didn’t until right now.”
“Have you figured out why you’re mad at me?” God asks.
I am overwhelmed by a sense of betrayal and the face of my friend surfaces in my mind’s eye. Four days ago, we met up. She poured out a long, two-week running story of spiritual attack and warfare.
“She and her family are doing good work,” I say. “You didn’t really protect them.”
“They’re fine. They’ve come through the experience victorious. It’s strengthened them and the people they minister with. What’s the problem here?” God asks.
“But up until now, you’ve protected them completely. After four years of ministry, this is the worst personal attack they’ve faced. You let it get to their children,” I add that last sentence in a whisper. If they aren’t safe – who is? What chance do I have?
“So just because I didn’t let it happen before, means I can’t let it happen in the future?” God asks.
“I thought you said you’re faithful,” I say.
“Oh child, faithful doesn’t mean predictable,” He says.
I hate it when He’s right.
In The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Lucy asks Aslan why he hasn’t come charging in to save them like he did last time.
Aslan tells her that “nothing happens the same way twice”.
I like predictability. I like boxes and the scientific method where the same experiment yields the same results again and again and again.
But God’s faithfulness doesn’t mean He is a predictable science experiment.