In the eerie time just before dawn, I left the prison of my bed; the words “this is the day the Lord has made” were ringing in my head. “I will rejoice, and be glad in it”; oh yeah? This is going to be a hard day ~ a day like “no other” in my history. I can only dream I will rejoice in it. When it’s over, perhaps I will; if I can feel anything, any emotion other than fear, confusion, and despair.
Answered prayer could be my stronghold, or the Master of answering prayers would fill that role if He was listening to my broken-hearted, insensible mutterings. All through the night I had been fighting the sin of self-pity; it was still Round One and I was not winning at this moment of time.
The winter’s daylight scratched on my windows; it seemed to have the sound of fingers strafing a chalk dusted blackboard. Remember that thing, remember those sounds? My nerves were straining to exit my body through my pores. I felt held together only by my very thin skin.
“I have a soul; I am a person, and I possess a physical body; am I of no worth?” These dark brown thoughts bombarded my mind and held me slave to devastation. How do I go on? Just as I breathe without being aware, possibly I will exist on auto-pilot, passing through this world as a phantom being.
In John 6:17b-18 (J.B. Phillips) the disciples’ fears are expressed and I was in steadfast agreement: “…Darkness had already fallen and Jesus had not returned to them. A strong wind sprang up and the water grew very rough.”
I found myself kneeling, not due to seeking the Father in prayer, but because my knees were weak. I had no strength; I was alone. I never thought I would be here physically on the floor, and spiritually below the floor. Is there no consolation? I become conscious of a dark form protruding from behind the floor lamp ~ could it be… really? I had let it slip from my hands earlier in the week when I thought it offered no concrete solution to my tired, weary and, uncomprehending mind. I knew better, but I was grouping for the exact words, the exact guidance, and the exact direction; I found: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. Selfishly, I wanted more… “Why did this happen, and what are those plans?” Did I just say that to God? It is time for soul searching, for an in-depth and close examination of my desires, and the pathway to my future.
Why must I completely understand this horror that has entered my life, needing to know the “why” of it all; isn’t that the opposite of trust and faith? I held my bible close to my chest, this time willing to listen with my heart. Maybe, for the first time I will accept the fact I may never have complete answers to my questions; have I prayed amiss?
In my crucible of pain, I was living a giant “selfie”, zoomed in on myself, and as a Christian this cannot stand. I found His lifeboat, its name is trust; tentatively I boarded and began the journey home. As I went I repeated and repeated these thoughts: “I have hope, He lives in my heart; I have a savior, He is faithful; and, my God loves me.”
Still, I was seeking a touch, no longer a full explanation, but a personal word. I looked to “The Living Word“ and returned to where I recently had been reading before my world caved in. Habakkuk was also seeking answers; indeed, our situations were nothing alike, yet our need was the same. I found the desired words, and they were there all the time. I had already read them, but had not lived them. They did not tell me what I physically must do to get through the rest of my day, the rest of my life, but where and how to find the strength for this “rough seas” journey. He reminded me I have the freedom to control the ride over the currents (by my reactions), but He controls the destination. So, in this time of pain I flipped the pages to re-read chapter one, and in verse two I found Habakkuk’s cry for help.
How long Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen. Or cry out to you, “Violence!”, but you do not save?
I read on, seeking… in chapter 3:17-19 I found his song; the words were pretty, and then understanding flooded my mind. They were speaking of a time of utter loss; I re-read, absorbing the thoughts invading my weary soul.
Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines,
Though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food,
Though there are no sheep in the pen, and no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; (my salvation) Insertion mine
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to tread on the heights.
This passage is speaking of a time of starvation, horror, death, and I am sure, both physical and spiritual. In the end joy reigns due to trust and a soul is lifted above and beyond.
I got it! I steeped myself in His promises as they coursed through me like a soft current of a warm river. Therefore, I felt relief as I moved out of the way and let His holy spirit start His healing, protective, restoring work.
I know, and I trust He will carry me along; however, I leave the destination to Him. At times my life river still rages, and my feet cannot touch the bottom, but I can always see the shore, and I trust the eternal bedrock.
Recently I read two novels asking the “why” of life’s woes. One I could not relate to, or accept where it was leading. The other was based on Habakkuk’s scriptures mentioned above; I was emotionally moved and wondered just how I would react if mired in a completely dire situation. I let thoughts carry me along based on the actions of my past when existing in trying times… I began to write.
I pray my questions will always lead me to scripture, my source of learning, strength, and peace.
Unless noted, all scripture is quoted from the NIV.
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Glory for today; grace for tomorrow,