It’s like looking up from the ship wreckage at the bottom of the ocean. You are struggling to swim away from the broken remains of twisted metal and sunken dreams. Through the thick dark water to the top of the lighted surface you aim but with every muscled kick and perfect stroke there is no progress. The only change you know for certain as you look upward in tempered hope is the burning and stinging in your lungs is ever increasing. Dismayed, you wonder if you’ll break the sparkling surface before your lungs burst and the dark water fills you and receives you gladly as his prisoner forever…one with the wreckage.
The whispers of hope come to me in the form of reading, rehearsing and absorbing the writings of David, the man after God’s own heart. He speaks of his own hurt, devastation, anger and indignation and I am laid bare in agreement and tears. But he always ends with hope and trust in his Father and overwhelming love for his God. With his words I am comforted and renewed in my fight and resolve to reach the top, to experience the joy of breaking through into the sparkling surface.
One Psalm that has reached out its tender arms to me, pulled me in close and refused to let me go is Psalms 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
3 He has put a new song in my mouth--
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.
It doesn’t take the death of a loved one to make one long for God’s favor, to desire more than anything to be held in the grasp of God’s hand, to endure His judgment and ultimately find His heart. Anytime our faith is tested for a extended length of time…when we have wept on our pillows in the night season and all during the day…when we are so distraught we can count all our bones…when our heart is melted like wax and there seems no breath left in us, when no one gathers around us but our enemies in their prosperity…how we long for God’s favor. I know I will have entered into His favor and found His heart when there is sustained joy in my heart instead of this horrible, heavy, crushing weight in my chest that expands and constricts with every breath I take.
With all of my faith gathered, I rehearse His holy words…”I wait patiently on the Lord. With the peace of His word in my heart I sit before Him, I kneel before Him, I stand before Him. And He sees me, He leans toward me, He turns toward me and gives me His ear and He hears every one of my muffled, grunted, screamed and tormented cries. He is bringing me out of this horrible pit of devastation. He is pulling me up and calling me out of this mucky, sticky, slick red clay and He is setting my feet on level, sure and trustworthy ground, which is His word. And He is showing me how to walk and live every day in His word. Today He has taught me a new song and I sing it in my heart, a melody taught to me by Jesus, Himself. He hums it to me as I sleep and beckons me with it when I am awake. He is teaching me to worship my God no matter my circumstance or the mess of my soul. With the praise that rises from the ash of a contrite heart, a suffering heart, a broken and mangled heart, I worship Him! People will see and hear it. They will notice and be moved. They will know God hears them in their anguish and torment of soul and they will worship Him and put their trust in Him!”
It has been seven months…and I don’t seem much closer to the surface than when this all began. Recently, it has seemed I am deeper than ever. I am saddened at the acknowledgement that the pain and devastation is getting worse not better. But, each day I know He hears my cries and brings me up. He sets me on His Rock and shows me how to live. And each day there is a “new song” to be learned and sung. Praise to our God!