Monday, June 9, 2014

Into the Depths

This post is about the pit of despair, discouragement. I don't like to wallow there, and I'm sure you wouldn't want to read it if I did, but please don't leave, this is not about me, really.

Yesterday morning was bright, beautiful, on the other side of that glass. The weather was warm and the air was fragrant, on the other side of that glass. It was Sunday morning, a day to worship the loving Creator of all things and bask in the fellowship of those like-minded, on the other side of that glass. But this was a different place -- a lonely, sterile and empty place; a place of sickness and even death. And the dear soul in the room next to me was feeling it, as was I.

As I did my devotions, delving into the glorious hope of the book of Revelation, the tears came on in an uncontrollable fury.  Tears of joy? Release from the pent up stress and excitement of the last few days? Some. But most were tears of loneliness, self-pity and hopelessness. The progress of the previous day's rehabilitation seemed all but burned up; there appeared no hope of going home. And there they were, in a place they never should have been, tears. But we are human and God is good. I cried out and He was merciful enough to listen. That's my story, but what of others who are still in that place, a place I believe we all must see from time to time? My "next door neighbor."

She is a Catholic nun, from what I have gathered, not a faithless or untethered woman. Her complaints of "lousy" when asked her condition, her refusal to eat even when bribed with something she enjoys, appear contrary to the faith she lives on the other side of that glass. What is it about a mere three quarters of an inch that can separate us from victory and leave us cloaked in the dust of defeat? What do we do about it? And how, on earth do I keep it from happening to me?

Let's take that last question first, as I think it most obvious. You don't. Next door is a nun, folks. Not that any of that makes her better or more godly than anyone else, but her support system is solid and immense. She's had visitors coming and going -- like-minded visitors -- for days now. She's been encouraged and prodded and reminded and prayed for, and will be until the cows come home. Her career training prepared her for this, and prepared her to be a spiritual icon for others going through this. Never think you can prevent it. If God desires to use it to break you or build you, you will find yourself there.

What is it? A foothold. A foothold that Satan wants and God allows. Three quarters of an inch of glass, separation from those we love by miles, bearing a night on the sofa with a husband who has no love for you, watching that last chance for employment slip away. It manifests itself in all forms, but it is always called "defeat."

Lastly, what to do. My best guess: hold on. Hold on to your faith. Hold on to God's hand. Hold on to others with faith. As I found the verse for the day, yesterday, even more tears fell:

"The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights." ~Habakkuk 3:19
It wasn't instantaneously remedial, but it was hope. It was another, truthful and loving window with which to view the rest of my day. I prayed for God's wisdom, and for Him to show me how He would make this promise true. And I prayed for my neighbor with her sadness so deep and deceitful. "Allow her to see Your hand reaching out to hold her and heal her."

Live obediently and trust that what is found in His Word is true. And hold on. My hope returned throughout the day, but I was walking, talking to others, not simply gazing through a solid, forbidding window. My friend is still in despair, but I know she will hold on. And I pray God will continue to open her eyes to the view from His window.

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