This may or may not be one of my more vulnerable writings thus far – at least one that people near and far will read. It is the night before my deadline for this article, and as I begin writing, my heart is beating a little faster. I’m not sure why. Vulnerability has never bothered me in the past, but now that I am at the true center of what must crumble away for the truth to be seen, I find myself trembling.
Our lives fall in a constant ebb and flow of feeling and emotion – happy, sad, angry, secure, torn, afraid, stuck, free – I could go on. And sometimes we feel close, while other times we feel so very far away. I would be foolish to think that I am the only one who has felt this anxiousness and this gasping for air – the feeling that I have floated one wave too far to rescue. It isn’t a feeling of hurt or sadness, but something with a grip much stronger – a grip that numbs me to how far I’ve drifted. As my eyes open to see nothing but cold water and clear air, I also awaken to the fear that I may be forgotten. What if the things I’ve become numb to have also become numb to me? What if in my mindless wandering, God has forgotten or counted me “lost at sea”? Most of the things which threw me overboard were things I loved, things I believed to be good and fruitful, yet in the midst of striving, I’ve forgotten how to be thankful to the One who has given them to me. My thoughtlessness – my failure to be mindful – has left me grasping at nothing to hold on to. This is no life to live. A life smothered by the surrender to mundane. A life of passivity. A life of finding myself “okay” with being tossed by waves of emotion and fleeting thoughts.
This is no life.
But there is One who offers me life. Who offers us life. He, once again, reaches out His hand. He has seen me in the distance and come for my rescue. He has patiently waited, as I have tried to turn the other way. As I have chosen “average” over “God-breathed”. He still whispers His plans to me. He still sings His redemption song over my life. He is constant in my wandering and steady in my confusion. His Word reminds me that He does not forsake us (Deut. 31:6). Let that be the defining word over our lives – that as we stumble, as we struggle, and as we succeed, He does not forsake us. He does not leave us. He stays. As we drift, He pursues and does not forget. As we begin to drown, He calls us up. Let this Hope be your anchor. Let His faithfulness be your way to shore.
“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
3 For you cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.’
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
O Lord my God.
7 When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
Jonah 2:2-9, ESV