Engage

Written Jan 2015: Skydiving. Lots of people do it. Lots of people love it. Lots of people have it on their “bucket list.” Me? Never! You see, I’m not afraid of heights, I am afraid of being squished into a pile of human jelly when I hit the ground. Many, many people have jumped and landed safely…. but there is always the other guy… and that would be me. If you put a parachute on my back and tell me I am going to be fine, I can find a number of reasons why it would not be a good idea: don’t these parachutes have a weight restriction? I’m not the smallest person after all. Maybe this guy that tells me I fit in the limit is just not knowledgeable about the subject. What if the guy who packed my ‘chute was on drugs or something? Maybe the gear was weakened by the last “pleasantly plump” person they let skydive? If they push me out the door I would simultaneously have a stroke, heart attack and aneurysm while screaming, crying and becoming completely hysterical on the way down. And if I were to actually not die in the process, I certainly would not have enjoyed the trip! The core issue: I don’t trust the parachute. It may be perfectly fine, but if I choose to scream my way to the earth instead of pulling the cord, I will die. What if I jump with a group and all my friends pull their cords and have a nice landing. Will my parachute open vicariously? No. If I do not engage the ‘chute myself, I will die. What if I try everything else first and then pull the cord when I am 12 feet from the ground? Squishy. I need to trust the parachute in order to live. I need to put my faith in it.
What about my faith in God? Is it real? Tangible? Sustainable in the dark times? There is a haunting line from a song I like, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot, that says, “does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” Haven’t we all been there? When the circumstances of our life get dark, how often does it feel like God is not with us and we are alone? Isn’t this where faith comes in? Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is confidence when we cannot see. God tells us in Joshua 1:5 and 9 that He will never leave us, but will be with us wherever we go. I know for myself, when circumstances get dark that often those lists of reasons why God will not help me come flooding in: remember the time that He wasn’t there? He may perform miracles for all your friends but not for you… you aren’t good enough. You need to get yourself out of this one. Here is all the ways you can handle it without God…. It’s funny how loudly that voice will speak. How cold and lonely you can feel. But God is there. I only have to engage Him. There have been times where I have tried to solve things myself and when I found myself in a mess up to my eye balls, I asked God for help… well, how much could He do then? Or I have watched others seek diligently and find God and receive His blessings, and I would not be seeking and obviously not finding… can I blame this on God? Does he love me less? No! I need to engage Him. When King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19 is threatened in a letter, the first thing he did was to bring the letter to the house of God, spread it before Him and pray for deliverance. And God delivered in a miraculous way. It has been my experience that if I drop to my knees first when I need help, God moves in mighty ways. And it has always been my experience that when dark circumstances come, it is almost impossible to remember those miracles that the Lord has done. All I hear is the voice of doubt. I feel alone. I see nothing. Where is my faith? It is there. Shaken maybe, but there. I need to be reminded of the presence and love of the Lord. That is why having a journal of the things God has done helps. I can remind myself and ward off doubt. It is also tremendously helpful to have a friend join you at the altar and remind you that God has brought you this far, He is not going to leave you now, as one good friend did for me not that long ago.
Bad things happen. We may never understand why. Even if this was not what God may have wanted, He can still use it. Just as jumping from an airplane brings a perspective unmatched by any other experience, perhaps the road that we are on will reveal to us a truth or perspective that we could not have known unless we walk this way. But we will not see it unless we can trust the One that will save us, be peaceful and open our eyes. What glimpse of His magnificent glory might be ours if only we would look heavenward and allow the Light to pierce through our darkness?

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