It seems strange to see the clearing…and I almost feel disoriented as the fog dissipates and I feel the sunshine around me. Sounds are muted in the fog…and now I begin to hear birds chirping…and maybe a car passing by in the distance. I’m not sure how long I’ve been in the fog…but it seems like it’s been such a very long time.
Now this is a metaphorical fog…but it is an apt description nonetheless.
So when did it begin? I’m not sure I even know. It seems like I’ve been driving for so very long…and much has happened in that time frame (or relief has not been forthcoming). Everything from Alzheimer’s, to job burnout…or family and friend concerns weighing heavily upon these frail shoulders…to unanswered, much desired prayer.
I think I know when it started to change. A couple of weeks ago…I went to the women’s retreat a church. It was just what I needed…to be refreshed and renewed. One of the exercises was to pick out a big rock and write on it…different things or people that you wanted to surrender and leave at the foot of the cross. It didn’t take long for me to know what I wanted to write on that rock. In fact…I could have used a whole satchel full of rocks to help me lay my burdens down.
One of the first things I wrote on the rock was the initials of a person with whom I’ve felt very burdened and discontented about for some time now. After much prayer and meditation…I took my rock up and laid it at the foot of the cross. Immediately…I felt a peace. For so long I had struggled to let go of my hopes regarding our relationship…and I resisted. But in doing this simple exercise…I was finally able to let him go.
When I walked away from church that day…I felt peace that had evaded me for far too long. Amazingly that peace has continued. By letting go of my hopes and dreams…I was also able to let go of my expectations…let it go, let it be and move on. That was the second marker I recalled seeing as I drove out of this fog.
Prior to that…I took a day and allowed myself to just be. It entailed a trip to the flower fields in Carlsbad. The visit filled my empty tanks…and I left renewed and at peace…with God, circumstances and myself.
You know those mountain top experiences…are frequently followed by a valley or two. This time I felt that God had me in the winepress…almost literally and physically. During this time…I had a migraine headache that lasted for over a week and was complicated by jaw pain from wisdom teeth. It was agonizing…and I would have done most anything to bring relief to the unrelenting, intense physical pain. Relief started only after I submitted a prayer request…to the faithful members of Kindred Community Church’s prayer team.
I was humbled that following Sunday…by my fellow church members inquiring to find out how I felt. They are so caring and faithful. I felt humbled and grateful for their prayers and that God has granted me the presence of these wonderful people in my life.
I think that God used the physical pain…and the resulting pain relief to remind me of God, his power, and the power of prayer…that he does care…yea, even for lowly me.
Prayer has always been a struggle for me. Honestly…prayer took a hit in my life following the death of my pastor. We had all prayed so long and so hard…for God to heal this man…but ultimately we prayed for God’s will and the ability to accept his will. And God sustained and strengthened us…as a church body and as individuals as we rode the cancer coaster for over two years. God’s perfect will was done…when he called his faithful servant home.
In some ways…riding the coaster was easier than when it stopped. I almost feel…as if I lost my purpose for prayer. I know this sounds wholly sacrilegious…but at times I felt it almost easier to submit to God and his will…without presenting him my requests in prayer. Only to have those requests overridden by God’s will. It hurt less to submit than to ask and be denied.
But thank God…he is faithful when I am faithless. He was there…solid and steady…an abiding rock for me. Though the fog and darkness hid God from me…he was there nonetheless.
Today…Good Friday…I awoke early. I wanted to read passages about Jesus’ crucifixion. I chose Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. In reading those passages…I was again reminded that God does care for me. That he sent his Son Jesus to die on that cross…bear the penalty for my sin…so that I may be forgiven and spend eternity with him in heaven.
Have the many things that concern me gone away? No…I could have written three more pages of things that come to mind.
But I am reminded of the love God has for me…and how big he is. He is sovereign and has a plan…a perfect plan in place. And I’m part of that plan…and he cares for me and will bring me through.
How can I not be amazed to think and know that Jesus chose to give up his life and die for me? Think about it. Who, in your life, would you be willing to give up your life to save? I’m sure there are a few people that you love greatly and for whom you would make that sacrifice. But would you make that sacrifice for the person who hurt you…or deceived and used you for personal gain? Would you do that for someone who hated you or someone who ignored you and didn’t even recognize you were there?
Well that’s exactly what Jesus did when he died on the cross…low those many years ago. For that I am most grateful…and I can now have a life of peace and yes even victory as I look with confidence to my future, eternally secured in heaven. Now who can beat that?
All to him I owe…all to thee my precious Savior…I surrender all.