Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Not a Bag of Snakes - Part 9, the final chapter, of "In His Arms"

Part 9 – It’s Not a Bag of Snakes

Just before the accident, I remember having a conversation with John about how blessed our life was.

“Our life is wonderful, John. I somehow feel like we are bound to have something bad happen soon.”

My wise husband responded. “God’s got us. He doesn’t give out bags of snakes.”

He was referring to Matthew 7:9-11:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Throughout the ordeal of John’s accident and recovery, I often reminded myself that our situation was NOT a bag of snakes. It was a gift. A gift that came in the shape of a trial. For me, I believe it was a test of my courage.

When Noah was six, I began a conscious effort to fight the fear that lie beneath every motivation and action. I sought counseling, I put on my armor and began a spiritual battle like nothing I’d ever done, and I began practicing courage.

Three years later, on December 28th, I took an exam. More like an internship really. A chance to live out the courage that I practiced.

Just two weeks ago, John told me, “You know Robbie, you’re fearless. It is simply amazing how much you’ve changed over the past few years.”

Fearless? Me?

I smile thinking of that. It is a 180 degree from where I used to live. Scared of everything, especially the future. Scared of death. Scared of really living like I wanted to. Scared that someone would declare me unworthy of living abundantly because of my weight. Scared I’d never be able to lose weight. Scared that I would never get over being scared.

My internship in living a courageous existence in the face of great fear, lasted a year, long after John went back to work full time. I found myself drained and empty. I fell into a depression. I found out that when someone tightens up their insides in order to stay calm for a duration, eventually the insides will exhale. And it will hurt.

In some ways, those days were more difficult for me than when John was in the hospital. I ate everything I could to not feel that mysterious pain. I didn’t take care of myself properly and my health took a downward turn. I made plenty of mistakes.

But I wasn’t living in a bag of snakes. I couldn’t see the good that would come, but God did.

Isaiah 41:10 became a staple for me to recite every day during John’s recovery and my own.

“Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, yes I will help you. I will hold you in My righteous right hand.”

At times it felt as if John’s hospitalization would never end. And then it felt like he would never get to go back to work. And then it felt as if I would never be myself again. But I wasn’t sitting in a bag of snakes. I was smack dab in the middle of His Righteous Right Hand.

So was John. So was Noah.

I have chosen to take risks the last couple of years that I wouldn’t have taken before. It’s just a matter of choosing to believe God and His Word and to not believe the world. Easier said than done. John’s ministry, dealing with men and sexual integrity issues, has thrived and John has become this warrior and Godly man who I love more than ever before. Because of the accident, we have practiced believing God.

I still don’t know why it happened. Did God cause John to be thrown from the bike? Did God simply allow circumstances to happen? I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that pre-accident, during the accident and post-accident, God never changed. He loved us through it all.

We were then and we are now IN HIS ARMS.

Glory be to God for the things He has done!


Cheryl Barker said...

In His arms -- no better place to be. Thanks for sharing your story, Robbie!

Robbie Iobst said...

Thanks for reading Cheryl! :0)

Momstheword said...

Wonderful account of a very intense year for all of you. Thanks for sharing it. I think it was hard to do, but easier than it would have been a few weeks past.

smithsk said...

Your post ministered to me - especially about fear.

Robbie Iobst said...

Maxine, you're right. Writing about this now was kind of cathartic for me in a wonderful way. But writing about it then? I just couldn't do it. Thank you for reading and encouraging me. And thanks for having Kay. :0)

Robbie Iobst said...

Susan, I am so glad! God uses us in each other's lives. :0)

Jan Parrish said...

The why can kill us. Why do we have to know why? I guess it's the human condition to want to know the reasons for everything. I think it's a lot more complicated than that.

Looking in on the outside, I can see that it drew your whole family closer together. That, in itself is enough. But now you have a testimony which glorifies God and shows how He works in the worst situations.

Praise God for your powerful testimony.