Thursday, August 28, 2008
My stomach has that queasy feeling as I've been thinking about the hurricane a lot this week. In church on Wednesday they were singing had it not been the Lord who was on our side. In the second verse it says, "Had it not been the Lord who was on our side the waters would have engulfed us we would have surely died..." I never sing that part, mostly because I can't, the words literally can't escape my mouth but this time it was different. I was too overwhelmed and I couldn't stop myself from crying. And I mean the ugly cry, the shaking cry, the cry with snot coming out your nose cry. It was definitely not cute and I think I freaked out a bunch of people because I was so upset but I couldn't help it. I don't know what that is supposed to me to me... does that mean the Lord isn't on my side?
It has been a long time since I've felt that kind of pain all at once, that pain that takes all the air out of your lungs and you can't catch your breath. But this summer and this week especially I am discovering that I am still struggling with a lot of bitterness. Furthermore, I don't want to live my life like that. However it seems that no matter what I do, I can't help but feel a least a little bit let down by God.
Its strange, because much of faith is pretty dark, but at the same time when I really consider the past couple of years I see a lot of lessons. I learned God is an artist. He is creative and extravagant in the gifts He sends to bring us comfort. He heals me with amazing friends that I would have never expected, books, nature, teachers, and even complete strangers. I have also learned not to fear living life in the valley of the shadow of death. I used to avoid it at all cost, but now that I have spent so long finding my way around I know that God not only leads to green pastures and quiet waters- He is with His suffering people in the valley as well. I learned to read the Bible in an entirely new light now that I have the perspective of suffering.
And yet some days the pain returns and I can barely breath. I can't take it all in– if I take it all in, my heart might break to an unrepairable point. On other days the sadness subsides to a heaviness that I suppose will be with me all of my days. Maybe, however, this heaviness is in some ways a blessing. I never realized how rich my life was until it was in a heap on the curb, nor did I know how much sadness one person could feel. I never understood that you could both love and hate God in the same breath and that His mercy runs deep. And sometimes I wonder if there will be any mercy left for me when I finally get this all sorted out- if I ever do. But I have to believe that God's grace not only covers my sin but also my doubts and perhaps someday, He will have mercy on me and bring my some peace about the situation. Until then, sometimes, that "can't breath" pain will come, and I will endure it by His grace and with the help of the people in my life that still love me when I'm freaking out at Wednesday night church.
But tonight I'm praying for New Orleans- they've been through enough. From what I understand about the storm track, they are scheduled to get the worst of the winds and flooding of Gustav once it lands. Its still a bit to early to tell but everyone I know and love there is afraid and angry and preparing for the worst. Until I know more I am resolving not to worry and just remembering "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed... "