Have you ever known God to walk a straight line? Straight line — the shortest distance between two points. What about the time Jesus sent the disciples ahead of him and they got caught up in a storm? Jesus came to them walking across the water. As soon as he stepped into the boat, they arrived at their destination. Bam. That’s a straight line.

Sort of. If you don’t count the rowing against the wind before Jesus got there. If you don’t count that he could’ve just gone with them to begin with. It’s only a straight line if you squint really hard, and even then, no.

I prefer straight lines, the shortest distance, please. If my husband is going to be the father of many nations, how about if you don’t wait twenty five years to give us a baby and don’t tell us to kill him.  If I’m going to possess this Canaan land, don’t send my people to Egypt for four hundred years. If my son is going to be epic, don’t make me spend his first three months fearing for his life. If he’s going to be a leader of God’s people, don’t send him off to be raised by a pagan or a father failure. Just take the shortest, most obvious route.

But God is the God of the curve, the corkscrew, the switchback. It’s in the wide arcs and hairpin turns that we have to hold on. It’s in the backtracking switchbacks that we have to trust he knows the way. And maybe that’s the whole point.

Maybe it isn’t about who we become or what we accomplish. The goals and promises, what we consider the main events, are just a backdrop for the one thing that matters — knowing our Creator.

It’s in our waiting that we know his faithfulness, in our battles, his strength, in our enslavement, his deliverance, in our confusion, his wisdom, in our death, his resurrection. My straight line gets me from point A to B, but God is in the detours.

How have you found God in the detours?

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Start at Zero

Zero is where you lose yourself. Zero is where you’re dead. Because you have to be dead before you can be resurrected.

I woke up this morning thinking about losing all my joints. Little by little they just stop moving. I imagine myself in the future like a paper doll, or maybe cardboard, because even paper has some flex.

It’s a pretty common idea that floats through my head. No, actually it settles in like a dark fog over the bayou. I’ve never been to the bayou, but I imagine that’s how it is, suffocating, so heavy I can’t move.

I’ve already lost motion in some of my joints. At first it was sudden, the way your life takes a sharp turn when the doctor says, “You have an incurable disease,” and you realize he’s talking to you. But over the years it’s been kind of gradual, like the frog in hot water. Sometimes it’s easy to miss because my other joints compensate. But eventually I’ll run out of joints. Maybe.

And that’s where the scary “what if” comes in to haunt me. When I wake up and my knuckle joint doesn’t want to move. I’m looking at my hand and realizing that I’ve already lost a lot of motion there. I just hadn’t noticed. Hurray for the way my body compensates for loss without even telling me.

I’m praying because this is what I do every morning in bed. Yeah, sometimes I fall back asleep, but that’s okay because when I wake up again I just continue where I left off. This is the kind of life I have right now, and I’m lucky that way. Not like the old days when I had to ship my baby off to my sister in law because I couldn’t move. But that’s a story for another day.

So I’m praying. God, you know I’m here. You made every one of these joints. My knuckle joint sends a stabbing pain signal to my brain just to make sure I remember it’s there. God is good, I remind myself. And he’s in control.

My logic kicks in, as it always does. So, if God is good, he knows I’m here, and he’s in control, um, why is this happening? It doesn’t add up.

Zero is the place where I let go of all that. Will I keep believing in the goodness of God no matter what? Will I trust him to do what’s best for me? Am I okay with whatever he has planned for my life? Do I really mean it when I say I’d rather be with him than anywhere else, that nothing else matters? Zero is where the rubber meets the road.

People like Joni Eareckson are champions of Zero. She’s made a whole career out of it. I’m not anywhere near, but I get a lot of practice. In some respects, zero is where every Christian, sick or not, needs to be. It’s the place of absolute surrender.

But zero is only a starting point. We let go of everything so we can fully embrace everything God has for us, arms open wide. And healing is one of those things. I can’t argue the doctrine or explain why some people don’t get healed. I have no idea. I can’t say for sure I know that it’s God’s specific will for my life or yours.

I can’t help but notice that Jesus, who was God in the flesh come to do the will of the Father, spent an overwhelming part of his ministry healing the sick. What do I do with that? I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t always know exactly what God means when he says something. Even the patriarchs and New Testament saints didn’t get it until after the fact. The best thing we can do is hold onto his words and let him show us what he means. God’s always right. He always does what he says. It just doesn’t always roll out the way we think it will. Or should.

So I hold onto healing, because God called himself my healer. I am the God who heals you, he said. He made it clear through Christ that it is his heart to heal, to end human suffering. No, I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have most of the answers to the barrage of questions that these statements unleash. I only know it starts at zero.

What are your thoughts on surrender and healing?

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