May 8, 2007

I’ve been struck by that word lately — of course the future tense as in “I will eat some Graeter’s Buckeye Blitz ice cream,” and also as a noun describing one’s state of decision making. i.e. “It is my will to eat some Graeter’s Buckeye Blitz ice cream.”

Maybe I’m giving off some indication of how I deal with stress.

I’ve been listening to the Jars of Clay song, “The Valley Song” over and over in the car lately. It seems so apropos to so many situations where people are suffering to acknowledge to God that:

You have led me to the sadness
I have carried this pain
On a back bruised, nearly broken
I’m crying out to you.

Inexplicably, though God is so good, He certainly allows tremendous difficulty and pain in our lives. And here I’m talking about way more than Tim’s job situation (which is still totally unresolved — as of now we have no income, but we’re still hoping for something local. Yes, we’re both pretty stressed and nutty these days). It seems as though God is making me acutely aware of suffering. This woman, a fellow sister in Christ, just had surgery for a brain tumor and has a beautiful daughter with a rare disorder that will likely take her home far sooner than her parents would wish. And this woman faces the struggle of a daughter with cancer (thankfully in remission) and a husband with cancer — all with great humor and wit. From reading their blogs, I see the iron wills of mothers and wives and women in general. Please keep them in your prayers.

I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy

As I listen to this chorus again and again I am struck by the phrase, “I will.” It’s not that I want to sing, or I always feel His presence, but no matter: I WILL keep on believing and living in the truth of God’s mercy.

When death like a Gypsy
Comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens
I will still seek your face.

But I fear you aren’t listening
Because there are no words.

Just the stillness and the hunger
For a faith that assures.

Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia

Yes, we acknowledge the fears and we admit that God’s seeming silence drives us to the edge of ourselves. And death comes — no matter how much we believe and trust, death just keeps coming. But it’s a choice. Will I look to the heavens? Will I seek His face?

While we wait for rescue
With our eyes tightly shut
Face to the ground using our hands
To cover the fatal cut

And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down

The reality is that God knows and feels our pain — from the sometimes silly minutia to the great cavernous holes in our lives. God promises ultimate rescue. Lately I’ve been having trouble believing that. But His promises have a tendency to stay the same no matter what my state of mind.

In Psalm 142 David cries out to God for rescue. I like the NASB translation of the last two lines:

The righteous will surround me,/For you will deal bountifully with me.

He will. He really will.


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