Editor’s Note: Contributor Christine Moughamian is blogging each day of Lent about her progress becoming “one brave Christian.” Follow her experiment on Twitter @1bravechristian.
With today’s scripture, Sam Teague took me back to the prophet Isaiah.
In his address to Israel, Isaiah made his point clear:
“But it is your iniquities that have separated you and your God.” (Isaiah 59:2)
God was not to be blamed for the terrible situation the Israelites faced upon their return from exile. Nor was the enemy “out there” at fault, but the people’s own “iniquities.”
I read this passage from a metaphysical perspective. It is our erroneous thoughts and deeds separating us from God. God is always available to us, if we ask properly. God always answers our prayers, if we are willing to receive.
That realization reminded me of a story about a man who wanted to go boating.
First, he hears a radio report that announces a storm is about to break out. He doesn’t heed the sign but goes out on his boat, thinking to himself: “If anything happens, God will save me.”
Then lightning strikes, the sea swells up. The man’s boat capsizes. A big motorboat comes by to rescue him. He doesn’t heed the sign. He refuses to get on, saying, “God will save me.”
Finally, a helicopter flies over him, throws a rope out to him. With the same stubborn answer, again the man refuses the help that was offered: “God will save me.”
In the end, the man drowns and dies. He meets God and complains: “Where were you when I needed you?”
God answers: “I sent you a radio report, a motor boat and a helicopter.”
In 1988, I was that man.
The tempest at sea was the turmoil in my life. The boat was my car. The radio report was an astrologer’s warning to “take time off and rest.” But I was 35 years old, a long-distance runner and a downhill skier. I thought I could do anything.
I felt invincible.
For me, “the storm” broke out on a cold winter day. A young driver ran through a stop sign, slid on the ice and crashed into my car.
Despite a herniated cervical disc and a doctor’s advice to “give it time to heal, a good 9–12 months,” I decided I’d be back in my running shoes in three months.
That was “the motorboat” I refused to get on, and the second sign I refused to heed.
Nine months after my first car accident, another young driver hit my car. My injuries were compounded.
I kept blaming myself: “Why me? And why twice?” My doctor told me: “Forgive yourself. One day, you’ll think this was the best thing that ever happened to you.”
For the third time, I refused to heed the sign.
I ignored my doctor’s “helicopter lift” and replied in anger: “I just want the pain to go away.”
It took another year of alternative therapies and intense work on myself until I discovered my path back to happiness: yoga.
Now, when I feel tired, I soak in a hot bath, read a good book or take a walk at the beach.
I heed the signs.