Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stepping Into Trust

When I was flying yesterday, I was reading a book, Walking Taylor Home. It is a book I blogged about before. I’m taking it to give it away, but I wanted to read it one more time. It is a book that deeply touched me.

About an 11 year old boy and his fight with cancer.

I read it while I flew. When the first attack of fear hit as the plane lifted off, it was Taylor who caught my heart. He lived in the face of death. He trusted through the fear. Through the pain. And he died. Trusting, he died.

I was not going to be whupped by an eleven year old boy!

I have the same God.

I learned something from Taylor as I reread this book again today. Trust is not “trusting God to keep us safe”. We all learned it was in Sunday School. But it isn’t. Trust is trusting God to keep us, to walk us through. Sometimes walk us home. Not about the end result. Not about safety. Not about that at all. It is about the process. About the whole process, each step. Trusting Him to take us in, to be in it with us, to order what comes, to hold us, and to bring us out or bring us home. Trusting God means trusting Him to allow pain, awful, gut-punching, undeserved, raw pain. Pain that devalues us. Pain that misunderstands us. Pain that can never be completely healed from. Pain. Not “stick a bandaid on it” type of pain. Real pain. Trusting that even this comes from Him.

I look back at some pain and don’t know why He allowed it to happen. Again and again. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been badly hurt. I’ve had people who were supposed to protect and care for me hurt me. I’ve had people who were supposed to be there for me turn and call me horrific names. Smear my name with false accusations that would take your breath away. I’ve lost ones dear to me. Even my own baby. God has allowed hurt that I would have run screaming from.

I don’t understand this. Tears still pool in my eyes when I look up at Him. I want to believe that now that I am “better”, He won’t allow these things to happen again.

But I can’t. He’s never guaranteed me that. In fact, all He’s promised me is that there will be more. In this world, you will have trouble.”

Thanks. I wanted a God who would keep me safe. He wants me to be willing to walk into pain.

I don’t understand.

Actually, I may understand just a little now. Maybe. It is something God has been quietly whispering to me over the last months. Calling me up to stand by Him and get a glimpse of His view.

It is not all about my safety. Not about me feeling secure. Not at all.

It is about Him. He looks at a wider view than I do. He sees other people in pain. His response to that was to come and experience it with us. Even death.

For by the grace of God He might taste death for every man.

He tasted death for me. In fact, I think it wasn’t just a small sip of a taste. It looks like He took a pretty big gulp.

And, perhaps, in ordering my life to be full of pain, He has allowed me to taste just a sip, just a tiny sip of pain so that I will be able to know. He’s called me to minister to a hurting world. The women He’s called me to suffer unbelievably. He’s let me taste their cup.

It’s awful. Raw, ripping, shameful, degrading pain. Wounds with no healing.

It is really not about me. The view changes when He calls me to stand beside Him and look out.

Light and momentary afflictions. That is all they are. For a moment. And He never abandoned me in the middle of them. God abandoned Him, but He did not abandon me.

He’s called me to share His cup. To taste. Trust is not about keeping me from pain, not about delivering me out of pain. It is about walking me through it.

Today, I met someone I had spent time with over the summer. We had sat in her living room and laughed at our babies, now growing big. I told her the story of Lydia, and she honoured me by listening. She listened to the lessons God had taught me about Himself with one hand resting on her pregnant belly. What she did not know that night was that that baby that her hand rested on had already died. She didn’t find that out until the next day.

She told me that today. Chills ran down my spine and my heart broke for her. But then, through the tears, she looked up at me and said, “God had you there that night telling me your story. When the storm broke the next day, you had already shown me the path I would have to walk. It is still hard, but that was a blessing that God knew I needed. No one else understands unless they have gone through it themselves.”

Let’s not be afraid to trust. To taste the cups God hands us. He will be with us through them. He may break our hearts, but His was broken. Do we not celebrate the broken bread so that we might remember? God has called us to brokenness and pain because He wants to reach into brokenness and pain.

I begin this year more broken than I was two years ago when God put a job into my hands – to reach women whose stories are hard to even imagine. During last year, I thought that I was a failure, that I was worth only to be thrown away, unable to minister. God is whispering to me now that that is not true. I just wasn’t hurt enough to have tasted their cup yet.

I worry when I write this. Worrying that I should be careful. That I should not say it. You see, when I was raw with my own pain at different times in my life, having been used and abused, desperately seeking comfort and hope; well-meaning people would say to me things like this: “Maybe God let this happen to you so you can comfort others.”

I felt like punching them. Screaming and hitting them. Now, not only had people used me, now even God Himself was “using me”. Not caring about me at all, but just using me. Hurting me because He wanted to help others. I wasn’t important enough to Him to protect, but simply a thing to be used. It took years to get past that.

The conclusion I’ve come to, twenty years later is the same. But oh, so different! You see, now I know Him. I know His heart.

This is a point I needed to come to on my own. It is maybe nearer the end of the road of trust, not the beginning point. So don’t tell this to hurting people standing at the beginning of that road. If you do, I’ll punch you for them!


Carrie said...

I understand this post more than I really want to. "Raw" is a very accurate word. And people don't seem to understand. Even brethren. Sometimes I feel like the brethren would rather kick me while I'm down than try to help me. It's disheartening.

But that's another tale for another time...

I'm so glad that you shared this. Knowing that someone has come through such things with faith intact is an encouragement to me!

Ellie said...

They do. It is the hurt from those who are in ministry, who should be supporting and loving, but who aren't or weren't that is the hardest to bear.

When your own side shoot arrows, where do you hide?

But it happens all to often.