On Being “Punk’d” by God

It’s hard to describe to someone else what it feels like to get “punk’d” by God.  Well, God doesn’t actually punk people I am well aware. But truly, once in a while it can definitely feel that way. Thankfully thus far I’ve only really experienced it twice in my short life. And the last time I really didn’t know how we were going to hug this one out. It felt like a joke that had gone too far. In fact I felt betrayed, used and taken for a major fool. Basically lured into the lair with honey and then force fed spoonfuls of crushed jalopeno peppers till I exclaimed with resignation how much I could learn to live with it.

A long story short, my heart got broken. Majorly. MAJORLY.  Granted maybe there were hairline fractures forming along the way that I chose to ignore. But regardless when the vessel finally shattered it was not a good feeling. Let’s leave it at that. We can also ignore the specifics of why I felt I was punk’d by God. This is the web afterall and not my therapist’s office.  But that is how I felt and it caused me to lose temporary trust in myself and in God. Talk about a lose-lose situation. In fact, I’m not even sure if the pain was caused more by feeling heartbroken by the boy or by God. I had no idea what was going to happen from that point. I couldn’t even talk to God. It was like I had no words. I no longer spoke the language we had shared, like the result of a bad accident that neither science nor medicine could explain. “I am terribly terribly sorry,” the doctor says, “It appears the victim has somehow lost her native tongue. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing if and how it will ever return.” I can joke about it now because time has passed, and God has done what only God can do. Healed in places and ways I never thought possible. And let me tell you just a little of how God did it. Because it blows me away every single time I think about it.

In the season when I lost our language I could only offer weak attempts to sound out desperate words so softly I doubted even God heard them.

God, I really don’t have anything to say to you. I don’t know what to say and if I did I’d have no idea how to say it.  Can that be enough for today?

God, I know you don’t punk people. I know that you are not a trickster. But it feels like that right now. Help me reconcile these things.

God, help me know what to do because I feel like I can’t trust you anymore.

“God, be present. I think.

God.

 

I wasn’t angry. I was too exhausted for anger. I was simply trying each day to get a few steps further from the scene of the crime, to stop looking back for anything salvageable, to stop wondering what might have been different, averted, protected.

And God, bless his heart, simply let me whisper and stall. I didn’t sense any divine talk-back, any words like, “Oh for my Son’s sake, really? We both know I don’t punk people!” or “I told you so,” or “just give it time, things will get better,” or, “next time it will be different I promise!”

What I did feel in those hours when I couldn’t sleep or get out of bed right away was the sense of God just lying there with me in the dark. In silence. Every time. But the silence was full of holy expression:

It’s okay if you don’t like me right now. That’s fine.”

Don’t try so hard, we don’t have to talk.

I truly am sorry you feel like I betrayed or tricked you.”

It’s okay if you don’t like me right now. That’s fine.”

***

Then the days turned into weeks and the weeks in months. And God thought to take on flesh again. To prove a point; that even though God doesn’t punk us, if necessary God will humble God’s self to woo us back to trust and to hope and to healing. I couldn’t communicate with God but there were people. New people who could have no idea of the state of my heart. New people who engaged me in ways that said to my shattered heart, “It’s not possible you’ve given up.” It’s not possible. Look at this. Imagine this. Listen to this. Taste this. Touch this. Believe this. Believe this. Believe this.

So I tried, with God still lying silent beside me in the dark in the night. With God somehow taking new shape and form in the light in the day

 

And one night when I couldn’t sleep I discovered I could sound out “Thank You.”

***

It’s been a while now. Close to a while. In any case really too soon to think such healing could have happened without help. Holy help. Because I trust God again.  And the craziest thing is that lately I have found myself deeply thankful for the whole experience, the heartbreak, the loss of language, the humble undeserved wooing, the healing and renewal of trust. Somehow it’s made me less afraid of the things and people that might break my heart. In some crazy stupid way, it might have made me more open to even greater risks of loving. God at least. For now.

 

 

  • http://aftertheecstasythelaundry.wordpress.com Cynthia

    Thank GOD my faith is not about emotion. When I’m crawling through the mental tar-pit that is just one half of my bi-polar “issue” I have to believe that. I have to remind myself over and over that God has not taped a “kick me” sign on my back. God’s doesn’t work that way. Thank GOD for Aquinas!

    Of course, that doesn’t make me feel *better.* It has, however, kept me from doing a lot of stupid things.

    I love having a big God Who can take it when I’m screaming and shouting. Who sits next to me during my toddler rants and offers soul bandages and the healing balm of the Sacraments. Who doesn’t care about my dirty hair or that I’m still wearing the same jeans I wore two days ago.

    God is good. All the time. Even when I don’t understand.

    • http://aftertheecstasythelaundry.wordpress.com Cynthia

      Just noticed all the typos. I think I’m not going to post form my phone anymore. [Laughing...]

    • enumaokoro

      Yes Cynthia, thank goodness faith is not about how we feel. Thanks for reading and commenting. May you continue to find the grace God offers.

  • Joshua

    What a remarkable and heartfelt article. I’ve read articles on being angry or disappointed by God, but I don’t think I’ve had anyone actually articulate the feeling you’re talking about, being “punk’d” by God (and I cringe as I write that).

    But even more cringe-worthy, I identify wholeheartedly with that feeling, and the subsequent inability to muster up motivation to pray, read the Word, etc. The times it happened to me, I had so much to rant about but no words to say. I truly felt I was talking to a God that was simultaneously indifferent to all of my issues and yet laughing at me, while having no apparent desire to convince me otherwise.

    Even now, I know God has never left, and is still, slowing working on and within me, shaking the issues of my mind like tectonic plates (my dreams, desires, circumstances, all of it). But I’m convinced that walking with God takes a remarkable, long-suffering, marinating sort of humility to endure various disappointments in which I felt God didn’t come through, and yet witness quirky blessings show up in circumstances where I’m *not* looking to show that, yes, God is still wooing you.

    Also, I loved the honey-and-jalapenos metaphor; that was so gold.

    • enumaokoro

      Thank you Joshua, for reading. I’m sorry you can identify with the feeling. It’s not fun at all. But God is good and God is gracious. You are definitely right about the long-suffering humility needed when walking with God. You said that quite well. Blessings to you.

  • http://www.randomthoughtsandfrogs.wordpress.com Wendy

    I really appreciative and am refreshed by your crisp honesty. Sometimes I think you have been reading my mind. You just throw it all out there and we can all be in it with you. Thank you.

  • http://logicandimagination.com Melody Harrison Hanson

    Oh, this is my
    year. So much pain, but still,
    God is Good. I’m not sure,
    still. The Ache is with me and God feels
    so Silent, but perhaps I’m not listening well.
    Thanks for this, anyway.

  • http://www.waterfromthewells.com Caroline

    Great piece! So glad to have found the link on Gabbing with Grace. You captured the relational dynamics between us and God in times of difficulty so vividly. It made me think of the time I had the stomach flu when I was eight months pregnant and my husband just sat outside the bathroom door dutifully, lovingly, patiently knowing that being touched or talked to was the last thing I needed and that for the next eight hours he was going to be the bad guy no matter what he did, but all of that – him, me, us – was going to be okay. Sorry for rambling – you just got my brain whizzing – my favorite thing about a good post. I look forward to reading more of your work.