But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold…
In an instant there was Hope.
Hope has been a fleeting friend this season. It seems I only catch frantic glimpses of her through the emotional bracken. I almost see her but then she’s gone in the mist and bog. It’s been ugly (real ugly). We’re happy to say God is faithful, but I sometimes find faithfulness means bringing to head circumstances that force us to deal: deal with our pet lies; deal with our cowardice; deal with the sicknesses we’d rather ignore.
Why does He go after this with such violence?!
Because they keep us from seeing Him; and when we don’t see Him- we die. Like a patch of grass that never sees the sun. There’s just mud when it rains. No growth. So, right now that’s where I am. In the muck and mire of a mind and heart that has large patches of permanent shade. And (I reiterate) it has been ugly.
I don’t think the ugliness alone has made it so hard to hope. Rather it’s the fatal equation of (ugly hard) + (significant time). A surgery can be done in hours, but it takes weeks to heal. If it’s a major surgery it takes months. And sometimes after “healing” there is still rehabilitation- like physical therapy. For full health to return you’ve got to go through all the little steps of retraining muscles and stretching and all that… stuff. The soul is as much (if not more) the same. God can come in and do a major work, but that’s often the start not the end.
He is in both the wounding and the healing… but it takes time.
Time can make it hard to hope. Past failures can make it hard to hope. Fear can make it hard to hope. It is simply hard to believe (at times) things are going to be different on the other side of all this pain. The good news is the faithfulness of God doesn’t just manifest in confrontation but in comfort as well.
That little verse sitting at the top of my browser window was a sweeping windstorm of comfort. And with it Hope came into view. Her beaming face glorious with the promise of a better day on the other side. Her strong arms braced for the war to get there and her hands, without callouses, wiping the grime from my face. Onward. Keep moving forward.
This is really hard (most worthwhile things are). This is tedious. This is ugly. At times it even seems ambiguous but just one word from His mouth can soothe the pain. Words as simple as “He knows…” He sees this hard way and “hard” isn’t where this story ends. He is doing something and when it’s all done I will shine. It is for my good. It’s going to be okay.
Thank you for your Word. Thank you that it isn’t just information in a book. Thank you Holy Spirit that you take this Word and you speak it afresh to our hearts when we need it the most. That you comfort us in the confrontation. That you are a living God. Not dead. Not dormant. Not stagnant. You speak. You work. You listen. You rescue. You know. Thank you. Help us to hold on through the weary seasons. Help us lift our eyes and see Hope standing there in the midst of pain. We’re never alone in this way we go. You see us. You are watching. We will come through when You are finished having your way. Help us to trust You and surrender. Amen.
*Photo Credit: Rewat Wannasuk