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God From the Backside
Witnessing Tools
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Wendy Wippel

A while back I shared with the Omega Letter saints the fact that my husband was having back issues, and I have to say that  the concern from this group overwhelmed us, and we could literally feel this group lifting us up.  I have a confession to make.  I haven’t been doing so hot either.

I started writing for Omega Letter in December of 2010.  At the time, I had two precious daughters still at home, had earned a little bit of attention as an apologetics expert, and had started to do some public speaking regarding my insights on the agreement of modern science with the Bible.  I also had a freelance business going as a medical writer, working from home. I was teaching women’s Bible study and apologetics regularly at church, and loved it.  In short, I was about as happy as I had ever been. And I wasn’t looking to make any major changes.

Then my pastor asked me to speak during on apologetics at church on how the characteristics of DNA (my background is molecular biology) make an evolutionary origin of man highly unlikely. And I agreed. Only because at that point I had no idea that it would radically change my life.

And not for the better.

What happened? Basically it was literally a series of unfortunate events. A man in the congregation who my husband and I had never met worked at a company that had been looking for a medical writer, and a couple days later my husband got a text from this guy asking if I would be interested in the position.

(Which prompted an interesting exchange at the dinner table, as neither of us had the slightest idea who this guy was.)

But we talked about it, and our oldest daughter Sarah was about to go to college. And  our youngest would be close on her heels. With no kids at home on the horizon, going back to the workplace sounded like it might be good. Regular paychecks.  Not as isolated paid vacations. 

So on November 5, 2012 I started taking my seat at a desk about 20 miles away from my familiar environs.

It was more than miserable from the beginning. Hired as a medical writer (which is exactly what I had been for the 20 years before I arrived there), I was asked to do everything but write (mostly medical editing tasks that for those 20 years had been performed by the medical editor I worked with and which, therefore, I had never had any reason to learn).  And, although I had never claimed to have any experience in regulatory writing—and, in fact, my resume lists 100 specific publications that I have contributed to the medical literature--I was thrown into a very high profile project with absolutely no training or explanation of the regulatory environment.

Kind of like being placed as an air traffic controller with no idea what a plane looks like. 

I tried desperately to keep up with the expectations and get myself up to speed, but it was obvious very quickly that I had been deemed the department village idiot, despite the fact that I was putting in lots of 14 hour days and trying desperately to get myself up to speed. It was hell, and I really couldn’t figure out how I I got there.

Two years in, it starts taking a toll on my health, a series of strange episodes in which a weird feeling in my head was followed by a (very short) period of disorientation.  I can’t remember my parent’s address.  I can’t remember my cousin’s name.

I drive past my house because it curiously just doesn’t look familiar.

I have a billion tests, including a brain scan. I see four doctors. Their unanimous diagnosis, stress.

Duh.

Things kind of came to a head about a month ago (after much frustration on both ends), and I (finally) know how I landed on the highway to figurative hell. The person who hired me (with whom most of my discussion about background had been held) had moved on before I actually started, and about three months had gone on between my discussion with him and my start date. And my boss, when I got there, had not been part of those discussions. So he (and everyone else in the department, thought that they were hiring someone with lots of regulatory experience, who could step in and run the process of producing  the final report that every clinical trial has to provide to the FDA).

Meaning, essentially, beating the components of the report out of the different groups that are involved in clinical trials and sticking them together to create the final report, which can be thousands of pages long. A feat which requires some wicked Word processing skills. Which I ain’t got.

But no—no actual writing.  Which is the one thing that I know I am good at.

Anybody else out there ever watch Hee-haw?

It’s weekly refrain keeps echoing in my head: “Gloom, despair, and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no  luck at all…”

I’ve been taken off the projects that I was hired to do, because, in my boss’s words, the erroneous perceptions of the team at my hiring, my colleagues have made them all “lose confidence" in my ability to do that job.

I don’t have the ability to do that job. Because that is not the job that I have experience in, and it is not the job, by the way, that is on my job description.

And with a second daughter headed off to college in 12 days (Washington University at ST. Louis,  with a pretty high-dollar tab), I can’t quit.

The good news is that my boss and I have arrived at a mutual agreement that I should be transferred somewhere else in the company that actually needs a medical writer, not a medical editor.  And I am awaiting that day eagerly now.

But here’s my point, (finally!).  Psalms 25:10 tells us that “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies”.

Translation: the path I have been on, seemingly a highway to hell, has been orchestrated by the God whose nature is truth and who only acts out of love.

And, as hard as it is to understand, it an expression of His mercy.

I think that’s what makes it extra hard. It doesn’t seem like God’s mercy and love when we are suffering, because we don’t have the answers to our questions.  But God once had a very interesting conversation with Moses: 

17 So the Lord said to Moses… “you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. …, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

What does that mean?  John tells us that God is spirit. (John 4:24) We can’t literally see God’s front or back. When Jacob says that he spoke to God face to face, the Hebrew is a metaphor meaning that he spoke to God directly.

Moses’ interaction with God, according to Jewish commentary, is the same kind of thing. A metaphor for how God shows us His glory through His goodness.

Meaning, often from behind. Like Joseph, and Esther, and many other Biblical figures, who endured sufferings for which  reasons were revealed only later.

I don’t know why it was part of God’s perfect plan for me to have spent the last three years as miserable as I can imagine being, but I do know from experience that I can trust Him.  Maybe the reasons will become clear in the near future, maybe only when God holds me while He wipes away my tears it will all make sense.  And that’s good enough for me.

Like I said, I should be making a move soon that will make it all better. And if I can figure out a way to come up with $100,000 to prepay the rest of our daughters’ tuition I’ll be out of there in a flash. In the meantime I am medicated (which does help) and I appreciate your support and your prayers.

And if anybody asks you to get up there on Sunday morning and explain DNA? 

Run.

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Wolf in Pope's Clothing



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