Have you ever noticed that when getting sick everyone goes through the same throw up routine? Almost without exception, people follow the same steps with surprising predictability. I call it the Puke Process.
1. Complete Denial—ignoring the sick feeling concluding it’s no big deal.
2. Hopeless Optimism—acknowledging something isn’t right but hoping it will pass soon.
3. Steadfast Determination—fighting the inevitable by any means possible, usually drawing on personal strength and will power.
4. Wishful Bargaining—praying that the whole thing will miraculously pass without explanation.
5. Humble Relenting—yielding to the reality and bowing at the porcelain altar.
6. Fetal Sniveling—lying on the bed feeling sorry for oneself awaiting the next round of involuntary prostrations.
7. Despondent Despair—seeing no end to the turmoil and calling for the end to one’s existence.
8. Weakened Gratitude—thanking God that it’s over and that you’ve lost five pounds in the process.
It is remarkable how predictably we respond when the unwanted forces itself upon us. The reality is that there are times when life takes us through the Puke Process. It’s not our fault. It’s not our decision. It’s not because of anything we’ve done. Life is just hard and sometimes it grabs us at our core and drags us through the ringer doing the unthinkable to us. We live in a fallen world and sometimes we are simply the victims of life; victims of circumstance; victims of people. There are times when life gets the best of me and I can deny, I can hope, I can determine myself, or I can bargain but in the end I will relent to the realities of this life. I will yield to forces of pain that are beyond my control; forces that leave me sniveling and in despair.
As I’ve matured the clearer I realize that God understands the Puke Process better than I give him credit for. There are scriptures written for the Puke Process. There are songs written for the Puke Process. There are prayers written for the Puke Process. It’s almost as if God himself is walking through the process with us. Like a gentle mother who comforts her sick child, so God places a cool towel across the back of our necks as we deal with all the pain life has for us.
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.
Lamentations 3:25-26, 31-33 (NIV)
So while the process is painful, I can come to a place of gratitude because I am not alone. My God cares for me all the while. And in the end I know I will be OK.