My wife’s alarm yanked me into wakefulness. Another hour and mine would be going off as well.
"Adam," she groaned. "I'm in pain and I haven't slept all night." My heart plunged. "I'm going to have to call in sick."
I put my arm around her. The stupid injury kept coming back to taunt her. I re-assured her that she was doing the right thing. She wasn't in a state where she could give her patients the care they needed. A bitter seed began to germinate inside me.
Later that morning I sat alone in a quiet room. I was supposed to be spending some time with God before starting my day. I wasn't in the mood. My wife's contract was a short-term one, and it was coming to an end. The hoped-for extension had never eventuated. Due to an injury, she'd used up all her sick leave. Now it seemed we’d be getting a big fat zero on her final pay cheque. We'd been counting on that money.
I released a sigh. We'd trusted God for so long, through my wife's nursing studies and her attempts to begin building a career. With countless setbacks, it hadn't been easy. My wife was amazing. She'd never given up. With the determination worthy of an epic fantasy heroine she'd gritted her teeth and kept going. I'd stuck by her side through it all, the faithful and devoted Samwise Gamgee. When things were finally looking up, we thought we’d made it, another setback. It was a cycle that I was tired of.
I'd have to work that much harder now. My dreams of taking one day per week off work to focus on my writing career dissolved into smoke before my eyes. I shifted my gaze upward. What was he doing? Had he forgotten about us? Didn’t he care? Maybe I had no right to expect God to take in interest in my first world problems.
David had always been honest with God in the Psalms. When he was angry at God he let it go with both barrels. Well, if it’s good enough for David...
I let it fly. I told God I was hurt and disappointed. I expressed how let-down I felt. Couldn’t he have just let my wife have this last week? Well, that felt good to get off my chest. I wasn’t telling God anything he didn’t already know.
I scrolled through Facebook on my phone. I hadn’t yet opened the Bible app. My eyes fell on a post by Ted Dekker - a favourite author of mine. He was talking about the Superbowl - that American football thing. You know, the one where they show all the cool movie trailers. I’d seen a few Americans barracking for their teams in my feed. I’m not into sport - foreign sport least of all - but I noticed a sentence at the end of Ted’s post. "If you’re not interested in the game, take a moment to see it as a metaphor, for you facing off against the challenges in your life" (well, something to that effect anyway). It was a simple statement, but God used it to spark something inside me. Was I really going to give up now? The story wasn’t over yet. Just like all good protagonists, my wife and I would have to face countless challenges before we reached the resolution at the end of the tale.
Even as I told God how disappointed I was with him - he was using Ted to give me an encouragement. Maybe I should have felt ashamed, but mostly I felt grateful. I’d been given what I needed. Time to grit the teeth and keep going.
Are you facing challenges and setbacks? Are you not seeing the answers that you’ve been hoping for? The story isn’t over yet. Just like Dory in the movie Finding Nemo, we need to just keep trusting (well, she just kept swimming, but you get what I mean).
Now I’m going to let Lauren Daigle sing you a song, because she says all this far better than I could.
So how did it all end up? Well we had a couple of challenging weeks. It was a good reminder how to budget when things are tight. My wife will be getting some work again soon through the nursing pool. She still has her strength and determination. She'll never give up. The adventure continues.
See you on the last page...Trust photo by Prerana Jangam.
Adam David Collings is an author of speculative fiction. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam draws inspiration for his stories from his over-active imagination, his life experiences and his faith.
Adam is a great lover of stories, enjoying them in books, movies, scripted TV and computer games. Adam discusses these on his own youTube show – Stories with Adam Collings.