God works in mysterious ways. So they say.
Every now and again, something happens, or some strike of inspiration gives you just a little clue as to these mysterious ways.
I found out on Monday that I had passed every exam I had taken in my first year of my university degree (although one exam was only 2 marks over the pass mark!), and not only that, but I had achieved a 2:1 overall!
Well I did a little dance and was very shocked as I was expecting a 3rd or a 2:2 at best and thinking about just how far I had come.
Technically, you could say that I have backtracked, but I feel it is the overall picture that shows the best image.
I spent last summer feeling slightly ill (not realising that this was in fact mild CFS/ME) but nonetheless able to go out and enjoy my summer. God used that summer to show me just how strong He is, and what I can achieve with Him. I thought that this was just me being readied for university as an experience that I expected to be tough at first but very exciting.
What I didn't realise was just how tough independent living is, especially when your world crashes down with a serious illness that had evolved from mild to moderate/severe and no form of support. Other than your faith.
Without a readiness beforehand I may have completely crumbled. I was too ill to read my Bible or go to church or listen to praise songs, let alone sing them myself. Even praying was proving tricky as brain fog was proving putting a sentence together extremely difficult so that my prayers generally came down to one word: 'help'.
I don't think that doubting or confusion or anger is necessarily a bad thing in a person's Christian life. But it can only be a good thing if you address these feelings and work through them. Working through doubts to end up saying either 'I understand' or 'I don't understand, but I trust you' I think is very healthy and strengthens a relationship with God. Because it isn't God who abandons us during times of great need, it's us abandoning God because we look for a scape-goat.
My perseverance paid off and now, thanks to over a month at home being cared for by my family I can read my Bible, pray and sing most days although church is still beyond me. But I am proud of my achievements and doing these things are all the more precious because of the rediscovery of how great they are.
And so I realised that becoming ill is not the result of an action by God, it's not a cause and effect relationship, it's more of a parallel relationship. Considering that God is God and created the world and all that, it's pretty impressive that the relationship is still an 'alongside' relationship rather than a 'looking down on you' relationship. So that when I was struggling it wasn't because God was annoyed, it wasn't because of anything in particular if I was looking for something to blame. It just happened, but God had seen it coming and prepared me as best as He could.
And it is that, that is the clue. And I even think that there is plenty more to learn from this, as I have challenged God to make this all worth my while by showing His glory through it. So let's see what happens!