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Reopening the communication lines between me and God was a tough project, and one that I still wasn’t too sure about. Most of the words coming from my mouth were biting accusations and blame. It was going to take a lot to get through to me.
In the middle of my two-week-long counseling session we flew back to Bangkok for a retreat with all of the missionary ladies that served in our area of the world. Walking into that room full of women I wondered if any of them knew how I felt, or if they had it all together and I was the lone weirdo struggling just to live one day to the next. I was about to get my answer.
One missionary stood up and shared about her anger with God that had developed as she watched her dying mother suffer excruciating pain. She said one night, in the midst of caring for her mom, she had a dream. In it she was climbing a steep, shale-like mountain face. There were no hand or foot holds and she was crying out for help as she clawed desperately at the side of the mountain. Suddenly, tucked on a small outcropping, she saw a strawberry patch. She explained that strawberries were her favorite fruit and one that she couldn’t eat in the country where she served because they absorb everything from the soil they grow in. Weeping, she said, “In that moment, God whispered to me ‘I’m the God of the strawberry patch, not the mountain cliff.’” She explained that she learned God was not the source of her pain, but instead, like a good father, he wanted to delight her with good things even in the midst of very difficult circumstances.
Something about what she said rang true, even though that hadn’t really been my experience or understanding of God up to that point. But maybe my understanding was wrong.