Yet some of the pain lingered as we went on. Able to deal with life, but at times shadows of pain flit across the sky - the wounding of the abandonment and attitudes of those in ministry with us during the crisis. The pain of all that had happened still there. Then we went into one church on this trip which had a sign language interpreter. I love watching signs, watching words translate to motions and seeing the meaning behind those motions.
For example, the sign for forgiveness is wiping off both palms, one after another - washed clean. I can not speak sign language, but there are some signs I have picked up and combined with my own that I use at times. There are times I pray quietly with my hands to God.
That particular morning, I sat in that church and watched the sign for "acceptable". It was something like reaching out and bringing close to oneself.
As I watched it, God brought a verse to my mind. "God's will is good, acceptable, and perfect."
Acceptable - able to be embraced and brought close. To be accepted, not rejected. Not to be horrified at what He places in our lives, not to heave at what He lays in front of us, not to be hated. To be brought close, embraced.
Yet Jesus struggled in the garden - struggling with this very concept, acceptance. So struggling to accept, to bring God's will close to us to a place with no defenses is not a sin. There comes a time in that struggle that no one can go with you - alone with God with friends nearby. How did Jesus feel when His disciples slept through His struggle time - as if they were unaware, uncaring?
But after struggle, God's will is able to be accepted, brought close to oneself, close to one's heart. Even suffering. Why?
I learned something. I learned it in the sudden heart-wrenching news that my daughter had died. I learned it through the slow years of marriage trouble and enduring the inaction and personal attacks in response to my pleas for help. I learned it again in this crisis which threatened to take my husband and again in the confusing and painful reaction to the crisis by our very own team members.
God's will is able to be accepted and brought close to our hearts because God steps in. He gives a quiet ability. I saw Him do it. In the sudden crisis, in the deep grief, in the long-lasting trouble - He's been able to give the quiet ability to walk through. He hides us in the quietness near His heart. He makes marvelous His goodness to us in a besieged city.
After I've been through these things, I've seen and can say that while there is pain - yes, real pain! Pain not to be belittled, pain that scars - yet I am left with an amazement of God. Of His lovingkindness which was marvelous to me during all these difficulties.
He can be trusted.
So, I've come out stronger, not because I am stronger, but because I am learning to trust; and as I learn, I find He can be trusted.
I've added a phrase to my title: "learning to trust". It's my memorial to these times - to proving that He is able to meet us where we thought we would not be able to walk. In the Middle of Nowhere - learning to trust. That is where I am and that is what I am doing.
In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me.
You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;
Save me in your lovingkindness.
Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon You.
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man;
You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the LORD,
For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city.
As for me, I said in my alarm,
"I am cut off from before Your eyes";
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried to You.
O love the LORD, all you His godly ones!
The LORD reserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the LORD.
Ps 31 (condensed)
This then would be the end of the story, but with God life is surprising! So there is an epilogue to come. :)