We all have moments… days… seasons, even, when we “hit the wall” so to speak. Professionally, emotionally, spiritually, creatively, financially… there are a thousand obstacles, it seems, to our progress. And there are at least another thousand cliches that attempt to reduce our obstacles to a simple formula for relief. And frankly, when I’m trying to navigate through life’s big questions, the last thing I want to hear is some trite quote about how my attitude determines my altitude… or how when God closes a door He opens a window. Maybe those motivational nuggets have a place, (although I can’t, for the life of me, think of what that place might be other than the flames of hell), but their place is most certainly not in the middle of questions for which there are no simple or immediate answers.
So, today, I just want to say that if you feel like you’re over your head in life’s challenges, you are not alone. I am right there with you. And I’m finding that the long season of widespread challenges in my life are digging out everything pretentious, everything flimsy, and definitely everything temporary. It’s not a comfortable journey and relief isn’t immediate… but believe it or not, it’s a good thing!
A couple years ago, I prayed that we would somehow help our children not to become spoiled… and that prayer has been answered. Scott lost his job. Twice. Am I rethinking that prayer? No. But is this season fun? No again. It is, however, a direct and specific answer to a sincere prayer. As a result of this season, we are becoming more resourceful, we are attaining a level of closeness we have never experienced, and there’s a growing sense of gratitude for life and unconditional love that might have otherwise gone unexcavated.
I’ve asked God over and over again what He wants from me. And apparently, He REALLY wants my trust. I’d much prefer to be self-sufficient which, as it turns out, is the opposite of faith. So when I’m tempted to come up with a man-made solution to my questions and challenges, I keep hitting the same walls over and over again.
I don’t know where you are in life, but I know that we all have a limited supply of emotional and physical resources. Everything runs dry eventually — everything EXCEPT our Creator’s resources. This is the same God who literally and figuratively creates “streams in the wasteland” according to Isaiah 43. Though I’ve heard the following passage a million times in various translations, today it’s as if these words are written here (from The Message) in a letter so fresh to my circumstances that the ink seems wet. This is no over-simplified cliche. This is the reality of a God who created us with purpose and who has charted out a course that is not about our comfort… but our growth and our trust.
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth…”
Trusting is hard. REALLY hard. But so is the wall we keep hitting when we refuse to trust in a faithful, dependable God who has proven Himself to be the only Source in Whom there is no end.