I guess my deepest prayer through out this season, is that hope would arise. Not only for me, but for others. This weekend, was one of the hardest of this entire process……of my entire life. I felt stuck in a cloud of humiliation, betrayal and doubt. On Saturday, I attended a few hours of a women’s conference here in Colorado Springs and as I fell to my knees in worship only one true prayer rose out of me.
“Lord, make all of this worth it. Please be on the other side of this. Please be on the other side of this door. On the other side of this valley. Bring life from this. Bring hope for others from this. Make all of this so worth it.”
I got another wave of terrible come over me this week. Particularly, last night. My best friend Facetimed me and listened to me cry and moan and ask “why” for the millionth time- she gently reminded me (for the millionth time) that Jesus was still here. Jesus is still the hope. Jesus is the only way that all of this makes sense. Jesus is the only way any of this can possibly be seen as beautiful again. Even this morning, I told the Lord that I felt broken beyond repair. I feel too broken to love. Too broken to ever move on from this. I’m scared. As my heart has been broken open, I am not happy with everything I have found hiding there. Manipulation. Pride. Distrust. Selfishness. Desperation. Insurmountable amounts of need. So much fear that I might be as unlovable and unworthy as the scary voices tell me that I am. But isn’t Jesus the one who takes our “broken beyond repair” and makes me beautiful again? All through out scripture and time isn’t the God we serve the God of the impossible?
I feel God asking me to stay put. Stay put in the pain. Keep walking through the valley. Don’t bail. Don’t run away. Stay in the process. Let the LORD be the hero of this story. I feel dread and peace run through my entire body simultaneously for the first time. I feel constant nausea. All I want to do is run away. Run backwards to what I have known, where I was comfortable. To what I know. A tingling sensation runs through my body. Panic. Unsure. Hopeful. Curious, even? Wondering if God really is who He says He is. Wondering what will happen if I keep moving in the direction He is leading me? Wondering what could happen with a life truly surrendered to the leadership of the Lord? Wondering what He will show me if I just keep going a little further…..
I keep thinking about the Israelites when the Lord led them out of Egypt and into the wilderness. They first had to cross the Red Sea away from their enemies. As the Lord delivered them, they were being led away from the only home they had ever known. They were in enslaved, but didn’t know the difference. I can just see a girl like me, reaching the Red Sea. Toes in the water, stunned with worry. Their advancing enemies behind them, the impossible in front of them.
"Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Exodus 14:10-12
Oh, the doubt of that moment. Oh, the tears and the prayers and the hope. Hope that doesn’t feel like hope. Hope that feels more like begging. Hope that is the realization that God is the ONLY one who can save you.
The sea was split. There enemies crushed. They were sustained by mana and quail for 40 years. And still…. “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat round pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into the desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:3
Oh Lord, how we have such limited sight.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your way, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
But He was never unfaithful to the Israelites. They saw the promise land. He was the splitting sea. He was the cloud. He was the fire. He was the victory against their enemies. He was the milk. He was the honey. He is the bread. He is the cup. He is our home-our promised land. He is sustenance in the wilderness.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Psalms 23:5.
I do see the mana falling in my own life. And I also see the wandering tendencies of my own heart. I see my heart trying to sneak back into my old life, even when God is trying to lead me to something world’s better.
I have prayed for years to be planted and rooted. Maybe this is just a storm, as my friend Wendy said. And maybe in order to be planted and rooted, maybe in order to grow into a sequoia, you have to endure the fall and the winter. You have to be willing for things to die in order for new life to grow. Things must die to be reborn. Look at the leaves outside. Everything is impossibly beautiful in the fall. It is painful here. But its home I think. He returns everything back to spring. He makes all sad things right again. We don’t have to like our circumstances. I don’t think He would expect that from us. Even Jesus begged the Father for another way. But I do think we have to cling to his nature. I do think we have to remember that He is good. Or at least beg him to remind us. I have to everyday. I don’t understand my circumstances. I hate them. But I have to believe that God is good. I have to believe that God is good to me. That He sees what I don’t see. That He knows what I don’t know. That He loves me more than I have ever been able to come to terms with. And that beyond what it may seem, He is working everything out for my good and His glory. That He is making all of this worth it.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory, in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21