Lessons along the way
Part of "A Journey to Charis"
It was over twenty years ago, but I remember the day clearly. I was a young teenager in high school, and I sang a solo for my congregation during a church service. After the pastor finished his sermon, a couple found me, and with tears in their eyes, they told me how the song had ministered to them during a very difficult time in their lives. I never knew what they were going through, but I knew that God had spoken to them in a very specific way, and for that I was thankful. I don't remember the title of the song, or many of the lyrics, but I distinctly remember one of the melodic phrases...
"When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart..."
This weekend marks the anniversary of the beginning of my Journey to Charis. The weekend when my health would fail me, and depression and anxiety would become my constant shadows. While I am in a much healthier place now, physically and mentally, my spiritual struggles remain the most profound.
There was a time not so long ago when I knew that God was not only my Father and Creator, but my Close Companion as well. I loved our talks in prayer. I marveled at His beauty and wonder. I poured over His Word, dissecting the intricate meanings behind simple words and phrases. I joyfully sang His praise and served Him with gladness.
I felt His presence.
And His love.
In a very real way.
But during this past year, I feel as though a switch has been turned off... as though something has been severed.
Because at the time when I need Him most desperately, it seems as though He removed His presence from my life.
Deep down, I know these are my feelings and not what is true.
So I have been borrowing my faith.
From King David as he teaches me about my good Shepherd who won't leave my side as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Who praises His God even when he feels he has been abandoned.
From Job who shows me that God's ways are higher than my own... who eventually finds answers to all his "whys."
From other saints of old who didn't hear from God for years, but persisted in their faith, knowing He would keep His promises. And even those like Sarah and Abraham who balked at God's promise, only to be amazingly blessed anyway.
From a friend who shares with me "The Dark Night of the Soul." She shows me that perhaps this crisis is a step toward spiritual maturity, where I cannot trust in my feelings anymore. Maybe this is an opportunity for my faith to take a deeper journey, beyond the realm of the experiential.
From Christ Himself, who knew what it was like to dwell in human form and feel forsaken. And yet He surrendered His life anyway.
So I am working on surrender.
Even when I can't feel His presence.
Even when I don't know the answers to all my why's.
Even when I have to borrow my faith from days gone by.
When I can't trace His hand, I will choose to trust His heart.