Sunday, September 5, 2010

It Comes Back to What We Believe

There comes a time in every situation where you realize that you have been in one place long enough and need to keep moving.  One can only sit in shock so long.  One can only be bewildered for so long.  One can only be sad so long.  It is a little like the old wives tale says, "Don't make a face like that because if the wind changes, you'll be stuck with it.  If you stay stuck in one place, chances are it will stick on you.

So when I come to a place where I know I 've camped in one place too long and I need to move on, but struggle to do so because I don't see a path, I go back to what I do know.  What I know is not always easy, but it is firm ground.  Back on firm ground, there is always a path to be found - perhaps not the one we wanted, but always a path.

How do I go back to what I know?  I usually start by talking to God and telling Him what I do know.  What I do believe.  I've usually spent enough time struggling around with God about I don't know and things I don't see.  It's time to begin with what I do know.

Some of the books that have most molded me as a believer are the books of people who walked this road ahead of me.  My parents had a rule when I was in early elementary school that on Sundays we were not allowed to read anything unless is was a missionary biography.  Well, we loved to read, so we reluctantly devoured the only thing we were allowed to read on Sundays.  I grew up with the stories of the great cloud of witnesses.  These books have greatly influenced my life and I find myself falling back to truths I learned in them in difficult times.

One quote that stuck with me for the sheer simplicity of it and the weight of truth behind it is this:  "In time of trouble say...
         I am here ...
                                     by God's appointment
                                        in His keeping
                                            under His training
                                              for His time.

I think it is from Andrew Murray from what I can read, but it was simple enough to stick with me.  The longer version is this:

First, He brought me here, it is by His will I am in this strait place; in that fact I will rest.

Next, He will keep me here in His love and give me grace to behave as His child.

Then, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.

Last, in His good time He can bring me out again - how and when He knows.

So I am here by God's appointment, in His keeping, under His training, for His time.

Today, it was time to move on.  To go back to what I do know, to get firm ground beneath my feet and move on.  The world may be different than it was before these events happened to knock me off balance and I may not understand it all, but it is time to go on.  I've learned that when I'm stuck and can't go on that I don't need to try to figure it all out myself.  I need to start asking for help.  So I begin to pray - starting with what I do believe and moving on to asking for help.  Sometimes, and more often a few years ago, I would write out my prayers - both as a discipline and as a memorial.  Today I did that:

Oh Lord, I believe You are sovereign in all things.  You order my life and my days without waste for Your purposes.  I believe this.  So in today's struggle, I still believe this.  I hurt.  I'm confused.  I feel betrayed and abandoned, counted as worth little, aching from the hurt that does not quickly heal.  I am suddenly alone in a strange place and must figure out a new way.  That which I am so used to functioning in has changed so suddenly, and I need to learn a new normal, and that learning must happen right in the core of the pain.  But I believe You are sovereign, yes, even in this.  So it is time to move on with You in the face of pain.

So here in the darkness, show me what is is You've brought me here for.  In the loneliness, bring me closer to You.  In the shake up of what I counted as firm, set my feet on the rock.  I know You are about my good.  I know that.  It is just that I am lazy and prefer comfort and stability to growth.

Oh Lord, in this be near.  Help me to my feet.  I know You are in this, even if it is unjust; You are in it for my good.  Help me to my feet, take me by the hand and walk me on - even if this never changes, even if I've lost forever something I counted precious.  Even then.  Because You are to me more precious than anything.  You are in this.  You brought me into it for my good.  Let me rest in that.

Nevertheless I am continually with You;
         You have taken hold of my right hand. 
With Your counsel You will guide me,
         And afterward receive me to glory.....
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
         I have made the Lord GOD my refuge.
Ps 73:23, 24, 28
After that came a quiet peace, the quietness of tears shed deep inside where no one sees, a sudden exhaustion, a solid nap, and then the readiness to go on.  I have found my way home to safety.

Oh, and I also cleaned my office!  Slowly and steadily working on it with the new ability to focus that comes with a quiet surrender to God.  It feels nice to be back in my space again.  It is a place I have to find peace in the middle of the business of my house - I think I will be needing it in the coming weeks!

1 comment:

Karin said...

I prayed the prayer with you! I just explained to a lady in my host language about the Footprints in the sand story this morning....hoping that she will not feel alone seeing her daughter dying from cancer. I keep coming back to your blog. Thank you for sharing your heart.