Is it just me? Or do you sense a feeling of collective frustration and disappointment? I am aware, keenly aware, of the magnitude of burdens those closest to me carry. It seems like everywhere I look I see the absence of physical peace, unmet longings, unanswered requests. Perhaps this heightened sensitivity is purely because I, too, am at the growing place. And so I recognize it in everyone else.
I know we learn best and retain the most when stretched to the length of our being. But when does a powerful stretch not cause us to wince in pain? “Look what is happening to me!” I wail to the heavenly hands that pull me one way and push me the next.
Throughout last week I found myself awash in many cares and whispering the word “help” often throughout each day. No capital H, no exclamation point. Just “help.” help. help. help. It was a request, a prayer, but I sensed my need to hold back and actually scream it. I daresay it was my desire to have control over one little thing in my life: the volume and intensity of my surrender.
And as I moved through the week, medicating my overworked thinker with Advil and good English tea, I was moved by the breadth of the cares of so many around me. It was like the Titanic — the ship of our dreams had sunk — and there we were in the icy Atlantic, bobbing in our life-jackets, wondering if any would come to save us. Each in our little private world of pain and doubt and loss. help. help. help.
Then I read this little scapel-like piece of advice from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest.” No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it obliterates God and puts self-interest on the throne. It opens our mouths to spit out murmurings and our lives become craving spiritual sponges; there is nothing lovely or generous about them.
Yikes. Why don’t you just give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?
Seriously, comrades. This wicked gem opened my eyes to see I am truly not treading water off the bow of a sinking ship. I am in the growing place, not the drowning place.
After I read this, I paged back to the May 8 entry of “My Utmost” which is highlighted and dog-eared in my version because I am routinely in need of reminding myself what God is like, especially when I come face to face with what I am like: Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says, “I cannot stand anymore.” God does not heed. He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly.
Look what is happening to me.
It is no picnic being in the bow of God. But I trust His aim. How can I not? And I want to fly true. I really do. I better stop wiggling then. Or He will just have to start over.
Okay, then. See you at the target, dear ones.