Archive for June 27th, 2011

Do you ever feel like you are hanging on by a thread? Or maybe you live with, or know someone else who seems to be just barely surviving … but rather precariously. They are desperate, they are exhausted, they are hopeless.

When I am having a hanging by a thread moment a vivid picture forms in my mind. It is a picture of me, in a small boat, in the midst of a growing, growling powerful tropical storm. I am alone, I have no supplies to help me get through it. I have no protection from the elements. And I have no idea how much longer it will go on before the storm passes (or I pass).

Life has ‘hanging by a thread’ moments (that seem to last years, even if they only last a few days). And when these inevitable times come, we just want them to hurry up and go. Unfortunately, they have a mind of their own, and their coming and going seems to have little to do with our efforts.

I having been trying (as a person who struggles with the lack of a gift of patience) to learn to appreciate process, rather than just wish that the struggle were over. This has not been an easy thing for me to learn. And, with every step forward, I slide backwards even farther.

Although my attempt at appreciating process sounds honorable, I have to admit that my rational for this self-learning is not completely honorable. You see, I am trying to ‘work the system’ (how it is that I think I can ‘work the system’ of something untouchable, invisible, is ridiculous … even to me).

My thinking is that we usually can only appreciate the process of struggle AFTER it is over (oh, hindsight, how I love thee). So, what I am really trying to do, by appreciating the process, is seeking the benefit of hindsight in the midst of the process 😉 … But, I am also hoping that by appreciating the process … the struggle might get over sooner! I do realize that my theory is not only confusing, but it is also very flawed, and very … wrong.

There is simply no way to rush the process of struggle. There is no ‘working the system’ to try to expedite the end of struggle. I cannot sit contentedly in my little boat, in the midst of ocean swells, all alone, and just enjoy the ride. Struggle is not something to appreciate, it is something that brings us back to the reality that we cannot do it alone. Struggle is something that should cause us to say, “I give up.”

Now don’t go getting your skin tight theological knickers in a fisherman’s knot! What I mean when I say that struggle should cause us to give up, is that we need to give up our control on the situation, and give that control back into the hand of the man who stilled the water, and calmed the sea. You see, if I am in the midst of struggle, I am going to suffer it’s effects …

I’m going to get wet,

maybe even bruised from being thrashed around,

I might even get sick,

or even tossed out into the sea …

Because bad things do happen to good people … everyday! That … is life … But, God’s hand, and His plan is to see me, to see us, through it.

He knows how long the storm will last.

He knows how the storm will end.

And He knows we need to rely on Him, and not on ourselves, in the midst of it.

And, it is not until we take our eyes off the struggle, that we can see who it is that is in control, and that He is bigger than anything we could ever face.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”

Job 38:1-2

“Then Job replied to the Lord, I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.

Job 42:2-5


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