This past year has been a hard one for me. And although there have been moments of laughter and light relief, the past many months have been permeated by failure, depression, anger, frustration, bitterness, loneliness, resentment, regret, emptiness, despair and acute manifestations of my own human depravity.This disease of my soul has rendered me disabled; unable to pick up the phone when I should; to attend fellowship when I should; to praise God when I should; to read my bible when I should; to speak and act when I should; to be quiet and still when I should; to put my hand to the plough when I should; to rest and sleep when I should.
Oh yes, you might see me in the corners of my kitchen, busying myself with cooking, for a multitude of people, or I may have a smile, six miles wide, plastered across my face whenever we meet. And it's not fake: I love cooking and I smile when I see people I love. But the cracks in my life have now become furrowing trench holes. I have broken bones, seeping sores and am bleeding heavily. Every time I think I'm turning a corner, I crash head first onto the floor again. Sometimes I feel like a dead man walking, or that I might just die walking...Don't be fooled into thinking this is a 'woe is me' pity party. And please forgive me if that's the impression I create. It's just, I felt the need to be brutally honest, as I know that there are many suffering in silence; going through the motions, wearing the right face, but wounded and hurting on the inside.
And how I desperately hoped that I would have been brave enough to confess my emotional, spiritual and life hurts. Not necessarily because I had been 'delivered' or 'set free' or 'healed', but rather to proclaim that while still in the very midst of it, God is enough. God and God alone was the one Being stopping me from 'topping' myself, from giving up or going mentally insane.
In the midst of a harsh and barren land, when you're so empty you have nothing left to give, so weak, that it's a struggle to get out of bed in the morning and when the pain on the inside seems to choke you like a dead weight, still God is more than enough. Not because I've been faithfully sitting in my prayer closet 24/7, but because when I'm too numb, too weary and too confused to pray or do anything at all, still He is faithful; He carries me, even when I am dead weight. And when friends and family take offense, or confront me or grow cold towards me, for repeatedly failing to meet their expectations in this 'comatose' state...God HAS to be enough.
Indeed, the Lord IS enough, even though I struggle to believe I and rarely feel it. 'The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.' (Psalm 145:14) And despite me, He blesses me still, with His comfort, His provision and the longsuferring grace of a few dearly treasured friends. So you see those Sunday Smiles are not always flaky veneers. Many a time they say one thing: being here right now is the only thing that hasn't been terrible in my terrible week, and it's only the Lord that got me here in the first place and I'm touched by the fact that you stopped to say hi, even though I can't relate or respond to you in an ideal manner right now. I beseech you therefore bretheren, to PRAY. Pray for those who are hurting, don't judge them or be critical of them. Just pray...allow them time to heal from whatever it is that they are hurting from. There are many smiling faces among us that are wounded and bleeding and hurting inside that just need our prayers.
This here lament is often my daily complaint. But as I consider my life, my year and the lives and struggles of those around me, I realize that pain may well be a constant companion in this christian walk...just so I don't become completely blinded by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Just so I can come to the end of myself and truly realize that indeed, our Lord is enough. Every single time.
For the truth is, it is out of love, a love that we'll never fully comprehend, that He allows our pain. It is so we can know Him as our rock, that He allows our weakness. The Lord is enough...'to comfort all who mourn...to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.' Isaiah 61:3