Have you ever been around someone going through an excruciatingly difficult time and observed how they seemed so peaceful and trusting of God (or something) to deliver or at least sustain them? They seem to have so much faith…or for some, denial. At some point we all face extraordinarily challenging times and then often find to our dismay how unfaithful we feel, right?
This title sounds as though I think I possess some magic answers, as if I see myself as a self-help expert who has mastered the art of faith. Couldn’t be further from the truth (note the question mark in the title). There are certain types of hard times that I respond to by absolutely crumbling internally. I can’t count how many days (probably totaling months) that I have lost any possible productivity or joy due to being consumed with anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, and what-if wondering. Maybe with the raised blood pressure, release of stress hormones, and psychological strain, I’ve even lost days of my life. I’d try to pray, read, journal, rest, exercise, call a friend. All of those means of dealing with adversity are good, but few of them work for me if I’m stuck in the obsession vice. Running on the treadmill of worry or resentment.
Recently, I read a wonderful line from one of my devotionals that said simply this (speaking from the point of view of Jesus): “Lift up empty hands of faith…to receive my precious Presence.” That first part struck me. Empty hands. How refreshing – I don’t have to be the "strong person" to have faith. Ever heard someone say, “You gotta be strong”? I think that’s b.s., to put it bluntly. In fact, I don’t have to have any skill or even determination to try to summon faith at all. Trying to force faith, at least with me, proves unequivocally futile. I simply can
offer my emptiness. Buddhists are big on emptiness in their meditation as a relieving and freeing place to be once worldly cares and burdens are shed. Those in twelve step programs are familiar with Step One: “I am powerless over (fill in the blank with whatever plagues them or someone in their life)”. It’s surrender, not mastery, thank God.
Isn’t that encouraging? We don’t have to fight, when we’re already down for the count, to conjure up some ounce of strength to be faithful. It’s not about us anyway. Admittedly sometimes He gives me what I need way later than I wish, after I’m exhausted from days of suffering. But it's relieving to finally get to a place when I’ve turned the corner and can rest in his Presence free of the weight. Don’t think I’m taking the credit for that corner either. Perhaps in my weakness (and I believe genetics/biochemistry plays a part in this too), I’ve somehow subconsciously fought the process.
Just sharing an insight that mitigated that tight feeling in my gut and made my smile, inside.
(Friends who prayed for my biopsy -- it all turned out benign :) Thank you for your support)
Linking with Ann at A Holy Experience:
Check out my guest post on meditation appearing last week on my friend Cheryl's blog "Live Fit Daily": http://www.livefitdaily.com/guest-post-tuesday-take-a-minute/