I received Angie’s new book, I Will Carry You, in the mail back in April. I had pre-ordered it, so when it arrived it was like opening a Christmas present I didn’t know I was getting. I really thought I would start reading the minute I got it in my hands, but I had a few things for my blog to work on so I set it aside, thinking I’d get to it the next day.
As is typical, things rarely go as planned. I started in on what turned into a month of feeling more unwell than usual. Weather affects my joints pretty drastically and I ended up barely being able to get out of bed for the next few weeks. But on one particularly bad night, at about 2:00 in the morning, I thought maybe reading would be a good distraction from the pain that was keeping me awake.
It’s an amazing book, one that feels like a bible study mixed in with the beautiful story of her daughter, Audrey. I was only fifty or so pages in when she was talking about the story of Abraham and Isaac, which prompted her to look up the meaning for the word “trial.” This is what her book said:
TRIAL (Old Testament) noun: from the Hebrew word sara which comes from the root srh, which means, “to bind, tie up, restrict.” Thus, the noun comes to denote a narrow place in life where one is bound or restricted…
I read it, and then read it again. And as I tried to digest it, I kept muttering to myself, “God, what are you trying to say here?!?!”
My name, Sara, means to be in a narrow place in life where one is bound or restricted. Me. Sara. Who is homebound. Restricted by my location. Restricted by my very body that could barely move from the pain. Restricted by my lungs that don’t allow a deep breath anymore. Restricted from life beyond my four walls.
I got it. Not subtle. But what’s the point you’re trying to make here, God??? What’s the point?
Funny, that’s a question I usually try to avoid. What’s the point of all of this? What’s the point of my illness… my pain… my limitations… my forfeiting of all the dreams I had for my life. What’s the point?
I avoid the question because I’m fully aware I may never know the answer. I may never know how He is choosing to use my life or why not healing me fits into His plan. And I decided a long time ago that it’s ok if I never know, because I trust Him. He knows, and that’s all that matters.
But as I sat there and wondered, “What’s the point?” it occurred to me that as my physical life has been made narrow, as I have been bound and restricted and faced this trial, He has saved me from living a narrow life.
If I had not become physically restricted in this trial, I would not be here talking with all of you. Because of this trial, my world – my life – has been opened up to a community who has stepped forward to share my life, my story, my faith. I have been stretched and pulled and reshaped in my beliefs. My life has been fuller and deeper and wider, maybe not despite of my homebound status, but because of it.
My name is the origin of the word trial. I am bound and restricted. But He saved me from living a narrow life. He took my trial and redeemed it. I thought, in my story as Isaac, I was not spared because I am not healed.
But in truth, He healed my spirit.
And set me free.