comforts in the stretched passages

Posted: March 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

I was working a job I mostly enjoyed and was pretty good at doing, I had good stuff going on in my church life, I was getting some pretty nifty ministry work done, but I also had a list of items in my life that left me somewhere between stressed out and downright scared much of the time.  Giving everything I could find to give, I prayed and hoped for the best, even as I knew I was getting at least as much wrong as right.  I felt small and fragile.  I wanted to hide myself away from the scrutiny of others who might judge.  I felt like ever since I had really delved into the deeper things of my faith, I’d been running as fast and hard as I could.  I felt stretched as close as possible to the breaking point.

In that time period, praying was the easiest thing in the world to do.  I knew for sure I couldn’t survive if God didn’t carry me through.  I woke up hours before most everyone I knew and drove over to let myself in to my church, where I turned the worship music up loud and paced in the dark praying prayers of both giant praise and desperate plea.

At work I nehands 3eded visual reminders to carry me through the day.  I found two images that comforted me greatly – one was of a big hand holding a little hand – it reminded me that I was never for even the space of a single breath alone – that God was holding my hand, walking me through it all.

The other was of the prayer wall in Jerusalem, with prayers written on scraps of paper, folded up tightly, and stuffed into the cracks of that wall.  It was my reminder that my prayers were always present with God at all times.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I searched the internet relentlessly for variations of these two themes, printing image after image, laminating them, and scotch-taping them around my work space.  No one ever asked what they were about, though I added photos almost daily for a period of the most stressful weeks.

I remembered all of that this morning as I worshiped at church to one of my very favorite songs, Good Good Father.  I’ve read criticisms of the song  out there on the internet, where criticizing and judging are full-time occupations, by people who clearly felt both serious and somewhat offended by it.  I can only say that for ME, it’s a huge source of comfort – it speaks of my journey with Him in a way that soothes me through rough patches.

These days I don’t paper my work space with images of hands and prayer papers stuffed in the cracks of the wall when things get hard.  These days, when I have the occasional stretched or struggling day, I turn this song on at my desk and run it on loop as I work, sometimes for hours…sometimes all day.  When things are bothering me, this song has all the theology I need in the simple facts that God is good and that He loves me.  When the artist sings, “…as You call me, deeper still/as You call me, deeper still/as You call me, deeper still/into love, love, love…” I generally remember that the stretched and stressed times are the passages He uses to do just that – to call me deeper.  It works.  It’s a GOOD process, in spite of the discomfort along the way.

I’d love to hear about the ways you are best comforted in seeking God through the bumpy spots of life.  Share!

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