Here I am once again.
It is dark…
night has descended many hours ago.
I am upon my bed in restless hope of rest.
Half an hour ago my strength seemed to
escape through my pores and now
I am just here…
weak and with no one to go to
or spend this time with
He is my refuge and strength–
yes, I know what these words mean now–
they are, in fact, my life.
I’ve had four years to test them out and prove that
they are true because He had to be
all or I should be alone.
The pain won’t lift from my heart. I pour what I can into conversation with my Father, but where the words end, the frustration remains–in some ways, deeper than ever. The absence of immediate relief tests me, but in another, odd way it strengthens me.
I realize that my frustrations may be greater than I, but they do not dictate the actions of the One who holds my life. And if He is not changed by what I’m experiencing inside, should my attention be focused there?
I used to think if I could ruminate all that I was going through, putting in detail all that I was thinking, all that distressed me and made my spirit wilt in my condition, then, I could have a handle on things and I wouldn’t be as bad off. But this really only increased my absorption in feelings that were already depressing and…destructive.
So God made clear that His wish for me was that I choose silence in my struggles as much as was possible for me. Essentially, He was requesting that I abandon my self-interested ideas about what I need to carry me through a bad moment or a rough day.
It has taken strength and spiritual fortitude I do not have to refuse to delve into my own perceptions of the situation and figure out the solution that would best make me happy. When my whole life bothers me, I’ve always had one hope to fall back on: my ability to give self-comfort.
But God has made it clear that clinging to Him and turning to my own ways of finding relief are not options that will ever stand in agreement. I must choose a life that functions in the liberties of one or the other. It is very difficult–there is no use in saying it was difficult. When I choose Christ, it often means that my I-want-to-feel-good priority must take a back seat to whatever larger thing God wants to accomplish.
Needless to say, it typically takes a long time for my heart to get in step with cherishing the idea of that larger good. All I really want, most of the time, is for my own sensitivities to be attended to. But even while I’m not getting all I believe I need to get by, God is showing me that there is something better to my life than attending to feelings that just reside in me. He wants to expand my heart’s regard for His thoughts, feelings and ambitions. It hurts, but it’s real. After all, His love for me is never without pain.
I sit at the feet of my Master, shivering because I don’t know how to stop. I’m here because I need to be–something came up to give me reason to be near Him. My world feels like it’s falling apart. It’s scary–what I have to look out at from beneath His shadow.
“Oh, God,” I plead. “Please, let me know my circumstances can’t diminish Your power or presence in my life. Let me know You haven’t changed and that You’ll always been there. I need to feel close to You, right now! Oh…I’m too afraid to be where I am alone.”
A sob escapes me and I cry. Half of me hates being this dependent, half of me knows it is good, even with all this pain.
A few moments pass and I’m not sure He’s heard me. I feel a little quieter inside, but I think this is just because I’m waiting to hear an answer.
Then a sound from Him stirs the silence in the room. He doesn’t say a word, but somehow He is just enough. I wouldn’t say that I feel Him, but I am reminded deep in my soul that He is there. That is all I need.
Not that I can work wonders with whatever God gives me, but that He can do great things through seemingly small or imperceptible means. He does not have to show up on my doorstep to give me what I need. Just a hint of Hope can do a world of good.
My body shakes with a torrent of tears that just won’t stop, even though I thought I was finished minutes ago. “I feel in a bind today, God.”
As I speak, all hope of getting myself “back together” is lost. It will have to not matter that my neighbors may be party to this emotional downpour as I walk by; I have to get away from home–at least for a few minutes.
My struggle isn’t new, I realize, it just hurts me anew.
“I know I’ve come to You with this before,” I admit with a wail, “but it’s too big for me to not ask for Your help, again.
“I know Your answer will probably not be to change things right away,” I acknowledge, “but You have to do something to help me. It feels like all my weakness is crashing in on me all at once.”
After a pause I land on the one thing that I cannot do without just now. “I just want to know: What does Your strength look like here?”
His words reveal that He is the One behind these constricting circumstances: They are not an accident that happened on His watch, but a difficult matter that He means to shape me into more of dependent on His blessing.
My child, My strength? It doesn’t look any different than enabling you to live in weakness–teaching you to embrace it and surrender yourself to Me. You see, recognizing your brokenness isn’t the end of you, it’s just the beginning of Me. It’s worth it to be here. I will show you how…Are you watching?