I awoke with a rotten headache, but one that only hurt my head, and that was nice. If you’ve never suffered migraines, this may seem an odd statement. Migraines are a full-body experience; everything from your eyeballs to your toenails gets involved.
I do have that nasty affliction, and the only good that has come from it is that I rarely have any of the common headaches that afflict other people. In fact, I can only remember two others in my entire life: one from a very sore neck following a car accident, and the other when I had a sinus infection that flared up on a transatlantic flight some twenty years ago. That makes this morning’s event number three.
To awaken with nothing more than a stuffy and achy head felt like quite a blessing. The fever was finally gone and a therapeutic dose of ibuprofen would set the headache right in less than half an hour.
My musically talented sister suggested my head was functioning as a resonator, which I think means I have that distinctive nasal tone that cold sufferers the world around share—a small price to pay to the god of illness. The alternative would have been another bout of pneumonia and three more weeks shot to smithereens while I watched paint chips fall from my walls. Seriously.
“There is a God!”, I joked. But I have never seriously doubted the existence of God. I have on occasion been asked to answer the “who is God for you” question, and I wish with all my being I had a brilliant and concise answer. I don’t. I do a little better talking about what God isn’t for me, but even that probably comes out in a woefully inadequate, rambling way.
The God who accompanies me on my Earthly journey is complex, but I don’t think “awarding” one person with pneumonia or “rewarding” another with a garden-variety cold is on this God’s to-do list. Perhaps this provides a clue to the human spiritual journey, which is about constantly seeking to know the truth of the God who created us; inevitably we wind up learning an awful lot about what is not true of that God. Sounds negative, but it isn’t. At least it hasn’t seemed that way to me.
This leaves us digging around the roots of faith, which is not a surety about what is—a brief statement that one hopes covers all bases in every game. Rather, faith is doubt. It is trusting in what you don’t know to be true; it is a blind belief that, over a human lifetime of prayer and living, you have felt the presence, the care, the reality of the One who created you.
It’s a little bit like drawing a picture of the air that surrounds a table; when you’re done, you can “see” a table there because it’s the shape left where you didn’t draw any air. The air, given its shape by the table, revealed the presence of the table. I have never seen God eyeball to eyeball (if, in fact, God has eyeballs), yet I have complete confidence that there is a God. I look at what this God has made and believe these wonders tell me a great deal about the “shape” of that which created them.
So I keep plodding along, discovering a bit more of God’s shape every day. From where I sit, it’s turning out to be an amazing sight.