Sunday, February 6, 2011
Keep Your Head Up
Some truths are so simple and so widely shared that they've just become trite. It's easy for me to tell someone in deep pain, "Keep your head up!" I'll be very honest, one supposedly "encouraging" phrase that I hate to have given to me during a difficult time is, "God never puts on us more than we can bear." Well, maybe I don't want to bear it! Maybe this time He messed up, because I can't do it! I've told the Lord before, "Really, God, maybe you think I can handle this and take on more, but I'm telling you I can't!" During especially difficult times, painful, heart-wrenching, and discouraging times... I don't want trite words of encouragement. What I want is rescue. I want to be taken out of this pain. I want the offender to stop offending or the hurt to be healed... and now please.
Nonetheless, it is not always in our best interest to be rescued or healed right away. Sometimes we pray for very sick friends and family only to watch them lose their battles and die. Sometimes we pray for answers or wisdom and hear nothing. Sometimes we do the right thing, make the right choices, and give all to someone who turns around and stabs us right in the back. Essentially, there are moments in our lives, when we must remain in the pain. There may be situations where there is just not an exit out of it right now. If you don't have a simple truth to turn to in those situations, you may not survive it.
This week I experienced a deep betrayal and have been very confused by it. I've prayed for this to end. I've prayed for some wisdom to overcome it and nothing is changing. In fact, it seems like each time I pray, the heat gets turned up and the situation gets worse. While praying this week, God put this verse on my heart, "I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." This was my honest and angry reply, "I know that, God! I've prayed for help again and again and things only get worse! I don't want a cute and trite Bible verse! I want help!" And so it has continued for days-- the discouragement and anger.
This morning at church, our pastor spoke about being discouraged. He preached from Exodus about the children of Israel, who became beaten down after years of being held as slaves. When help finally did come for them, many of them were too discouraged to believe it or move toward the help. Because their heads were hanging low, they missed exits and opportunities. In the midst of this sermon, the pastor says, "Lift your eyes up to the hills! Where does your help come from? Your help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth! When you get discouraged, you miss the help when it finally comes!"
In the midst of my pain, my stubbornness in wanting only rescue led me to discouragement when it didn't come. What I do have is the promise of my Higher Power that help will come. It is the simplicity of this promise and its truth that will keep my eyes raised to the hills. I wanted to share this story here, because I know there are so many of you in a similar place. You don't have the answers you want right now. You don't have the help you need right now. What we do have, however, are truths-- pure and simple truths. Cling to those and know they will get you through. That's your simple encouragement for the day. It's all I've got, "Keep looking up."
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