Are you in a season of restless searching? Is there a disquiet in your heart that perhaps can’t be pinpointed? A wandering that has you looking in vain for the next big adventure?
I am. I often am.
If perhaps you can identify with my heart’s yearnings, then you understand the search for validation, the self-driven passion to accomplish great things, the need for joy in the daily routine. That elusive sense of purpose in the mundane.
Contentment in all things may be one of my greatest challenges in this life. But, at least I claim, I balance that with a tender heart. One that wants to learn the rhythms of peace, the pursuit of selfless living, the constant of sacrificial friendship.
And, perhaps that is what I would share today. In a season of wondering, fall back on your constants.
Fall back on the scripture verses that have held your faith together.
Fall back on the people who speak the truth and love you no matter what.
Fall back on the overarching dreams that guide you and your family.
Fall back in order to move forward with confidence. It’s on this pedestal that I preach to the choir.
I sing the lyrics of the old, old hymns to Abby and see myself as a hypocrite. Or at least as a failing, striving, struggling pilgrim. Deep conviction fills me at the surety of the writer’s beliefs. “It is well with my soul,” Spafford wrote after great tragedy, “and whatever my lot / He has taught me to say / It is well / It is well / With my soul.”
Yet, the hymn leaves me without accuser, as the rich truths continue. “My sin not in part but the whole / Is nailed to the cross / And I bear it no more. / Praise the Lord / Praise the Lord / Praise the Lord.”
What can one do but humble the striving soul enough to surrender to that Gospel?
I have been in a season of disappointments and grief and – if I’m honest – anger. Some of these disappointments and griefs are not even my own, but friends’ burdens that I carry. They are not my stories to tell, but they have been my tears shed. My questions. My doubts. My disbelief. I have found myself growing more and more distant from my Jesus, as I questioned His desire to move mountains on my behalf. On friends’ behalves. I believed He was capable. And then the hurts and pain continue. The heartache touching parts of my own past can still bring me to my knees in sorrow. How to comprehend a Savior who could fix everything (in my estimation), but doesn’t?
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains,” the psalmist writes, “where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121)
Case closed. Mountains be destroyed and come to ruin. The Psalmist David had fought his battle with his God and still found Him reliable despite the bloodshed, the loss, and the failures of his own. It didn’t matter that David had children die, siblings fight, nations rise against him. He still sided with his Maker.
And, so where do we stand? Are we even willing to duke it out or are we apathetic with the shackles of disappointment and anger?
I remember standing so full of hope on my parents’ porch, snapping these images of riotous blooming flowers, dreaming of the baby that I was about to carry the next nine months.
But, it turned out that these images preceded the first baby that I was going to lose. These joyous blossoms mocked my dreams, and a bit of my trust died with that tiny embryo.
A series of months that took my breathe away in their viciousness culminated in a successful – but challenging – pregnancy and Abby’s miraculous birth. I stilled my soul before my Savior, but I was no longer naive.
Am no longer naive.
Sometimes worst fears ARE realized. Sometimes loved ones die. Sometimes that job doesn’t provide. Sometimes the yuck of this world smears us with its cruelty.
So, where do you stand? Where do we find belief in the wanderings?
I stand today in the decision to take BIG STEPS. Not in the surety of the future. Not in the hope that there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Not in the dream that this world will be perfected apart from drastic kingdom changes. I am still that faltering pilgrim, but I press on.
I hear my toddler’s voice declaring, “Abby takes BIG STEPS,” as she takes on a tall staircase, a new balance challenge, a leap from dining room chair to dining room chair (insert exhausted mom sigh). She is unafraid despite the many scrapes and bruises that testify to many falls and failures.
And, so I take a big step to side with a God who is too great for me to comprehend and with a host of believers who have walked before me, fought well before me, and trusted before me despite tragedy and sorrow. They understood that men are not robots, and this world is fallen and evil. Pain is part of this life since the first man sinned at the beginning of Creation. But, these pilgrims also understood that their treasure was in heaven “where moth and rust do not corrupt.” They understood that there was peace and joy available in the hope of the Gospel and the assurance that their Jesus had already adopted them and loved them despite failings and falterings.
I count myself as one of those pilgrims. The weak kind. The kind that still questions – sometimes daily. But the kind with a tender heart. I will treasure the gifts and fall back on my foundation when the storms roll.