I haven’t been blogging much these past couple months. Popping out a fetus notwithstanding, I’ve been busy. Busy with other life stuff. Busy putting out stupid, unnecessary fires in our personal lives that make me go hmmmm among other things. Busy pleading with God and banging my head on the wall – which incidentally feel like similar activities at times. And when I stop doing either of those, it feels so much better.
It boils down to this. I don’t trust God. I just don’t. You say, Gasp! Oh horror! Well, I’m only being honest. I know “trust and obey” and I know it is sweet to trust Him. I also know that the party line is to look back and see what He has done in the past and how He is faithful, good, and sovereign. That He has a better way, He always carries us through, and we are always profoundly more grateful for His grace and goodness when the smoke clears.
Problem is that I also know what He allows. I also have experienced and watched others experience the kind of sovereignty that allows pain and suffering. I also have seen what appears to me to be God standing silently and idly by. And it’s enough to make me one of the unbelievers.
At least for a season.
I get it. I do. I can quote all the verses and sing all the songs. One of my favorite/most hated songs is “Help my unbelief” and the second is like it, “I asked the Lord.” It’s this tension of knowing – knowing – knowing the truth and just throwing your hands up in frustration that I still feel fear, anxiety, hurt, confusion, and distrust. I’ve seen what He’s allowed before. I know He could make all the ugly go away. I know He could unleash His vengeance and right all the wrongs. I know my Father is good and loves me so very much. And I just want to ball up into a hole and die.
Until I don’t.
I find something in the air that just tells me to wait. Be at peace. Maybe it’s a lyric that sends me a new hope. Maybe it’s the sweet smile of my girls, reminding me that God is still giving birth to new mercies. Maybe it’s the fact that my husband comes home to us from work and we’re all there and alive and giddy to see him. Whatever that “thing” is that keeps me going I know – know – know it’s from God. Every peace and any peace that comes at all comes from there. And we cling to it like a frightened little girl in a big in-ground pool who is learning from her daddy how to swim. We’ll get there. We’ll get the courage to jump eventually. We’ll get the joy eventually. We’ll get the knack of kicking and swinging our arms together, and we’ll glide through the water like a champ… eventually. (I still can’t really swim very well.)
So I go back to the basics. Breathing. One foot in front of the other. I’ve tested the waters. I know they are calm and inviting. I know they are rough and full of risk. I don’t trust the water. And I don’t trust that my Father won’t let it get crazy. But I do trust He won’t let me drown. And that’s the bottom line really. Like the time my husband tried to get me to swim in the ocean and I panicked. My husband got me back to the shore safely and all, but there were moments I was worried. Rob figured out a way to get me back and guided me, holding me and dragging me when he needed to. How much more will God hold me up, dragging me and throwing me around when needed? I leave it to Him to decide when that is. (God, that is – but Rob too when it comes to water!)
We can’t know the next steps for certain. We are timid and fearful at times. The waves are large and powerful. But they will not drown me. It’s impossible for me to drown. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”
And it gets me thinking about what bolstered Jesus’ mind on the night he was betrayed. It’s a crazy idea – the Creator of the UNIVERSE getting trapped and killed. The cynical part of me says Look. What kind of God lets His SON drown? And why should I trust a God who turns His face away from His only Son in the hour of his greatest, well, really his ONLY time of actual need?
Why? Why indeed. I ask the question. And I am the answer. Why do I trust Him? Because He has proven the great lengths He will go to, for me and for His glory. He shows me time and again how myopic I am, how self-absorbed I am, in looking for answers but not looking back far enough. I look at my life, but I must look at His – who was and is and is to come. I must look at HIS glory, that which will never fade or end, everlasting, long past all suffering and the pains of this life. Why do I keep looking for truth and hope anywhere else? Why do we toil on lesser things? How can I place trust in everything else? How can I not hitch to that wagon?
“He isn’t safe, but He is good.” Oh for grace to trust Him more.