16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.
Psalm 25: 16, 17
A few weeks ago, my husband, kids, and I were traveling back home after visiting relatives at a family reunion. About halfway home, the sky suddenly changed color right in front of us. It was the charcoal gray that warns of storms ahead. Directly above us was bright sun, splintering us with its heat. In fact, all of the sky was bright light, except for the road ahead, where we would soon be. For the next hour, we were poured on, slapping the vision out of us, and then there would be a spurt of sun. But it was gone before we even had a chance to say, “Whew! That was some storm.” We got a beating, cloud after violent cloud. The rain almost seemed to physically hurt me, with the force that it hit the vehicle time after time. Every time the sun popped out just for a moment, I started to feel relief because that would mean we would soon have visibility again. But, the sun was a vindictive tease that day, each time it hid again behind that mountain of clouds.
I think we often find ourselves in these kinds of storms that beat us with all of their force, take a quick breather, and then come back to seek to finish us off. The last couple of years have felt like that for me. It has been one heartbreak, overwhelming challenge, traumatic event after another. Maybe you can relate to that feeling of trying to maintain some kind of order while being blown completely off the road by the winds of the storm you’re in. We often have hurricane seasons that sometimes last years.
I’m not sure if it’s spiritual amnesia or just plain weariness, but in these storms it seems as though we’ve forgotten how to get through it. We either commiserate with people, or we wallow, sleep too much, eat too much, or drink too much. All those songs we know that speak of faith, hope, courage, and love seem to sound so much better when we are not currently in a place where we desperately need them. They just aren’t, well….enough.
This kind of reminds me of Namaan. He had leprosy, and was told if he dunked himself in a smelly river seven times, he would be healed. He was turned off by this. Because it was smelly and gross? Maybe. But I think it had to do with the fact that it seemed too easy. It MUST take more than that. But sometimes it really is as simple as a swim, or as simple as a song, a scripture, or a prayer.
Some days, I read the lyrics to old hymns…I always find a kindred spirit in the writers of them. Their words, based on their lives, give me hope that I will one day see the sun again. The bible gives me vision past the torrential downpours that just don’t ever seem to let up. So, no matter how dark it gets, no matter how hopeless I feel (David felt hopeless, by the way.), I KNOW it will end soon, and I also know I’m not in it all alone. God is right there, keeping the winds and rain from destroying me. I’d love it if He just moved the clouds away, but He isn’t doing that. And I HAVE to trust that that is best right now. So, if you are in a series of storms and you don’t think you can go any further…don’t turn to the things which simply “feel” better, but trust the One who controls the rain.