I reached a very low place before we went home to visit the US back in September. After one particular sleepless night, I fell apart and my heart broke open in anger at God.
I had so much built up hurt and resentment. All the things I didn’t trust about India came out: everything from the air quality to the people.
After I had listed off every wrong and hurt I could think of, I realized I was really more mad at God than anyone else: “Why did you ever want us to come here? It’s been one frustration after another. Do you hear me God? Do you even care?”
“But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.” (Mt 7:14)
When I look at that verse in Matthew it reminds me of how Michael once called our time here a “season of stretching”. It’s uncomfortable to be under pressure, compressed, and stretched, but that’s been India for us.
This is an undesirable place. Yet, here we are and every accomplishment and self-percieved strength has been put through the refining fire.
All that’s left is us & Him.
I still don’t know the full purpose behind why God laid it on our hearts to come to India. And trust me, I’ve asked a lot.
The majority of the time I still don’t even feel His presence. But out of the hundreds of times I’ve searched Him out and asked, “why are we here God?”, He’s replied twice and said: “To show you your need” and “To show you who I am.”
The night before Jesus was crucified, He agonized in prayer in the garden: “Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” (Lk 22:42)
I can’t relate to the physical torment Jesus endured, but in a small, small way, I can relate to the surrender and trust He expressed to the Father that night.
I too, finally had to have my own time in the garden: “Father, I’m scared. I’m weak. I can’t see you and I’m in pain. But if You’re there, and this is what You want, then I guess all I can do is trust You.” (Ironically, Michael and I were in Rome, on vacation in our own “garden”, when I had this moment with God.)
It says in Hebrews that Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him. I may not know what God has in store for me here in the near future, but I know can endure it for the hope I have hidden in Christ. And I know I’d rather be with Him in discomfort than without Him in comfort.
In closing, I want to share the following music video by Josh Garrels. The song is called “Beyond The Blue.” When I listen to this song, it encourages me to let go of my fears and remember there’s a joy hidden in Christ that can’t be shaken.
I’ve included the lyrics as well, so if you’re needing some encouragement take a few moments to let this song minister to you.
Josh Garrels – “Beyond the Blue” from Resound on Vimeo.
Stand on the shores of a site unseen
The substance of this dwells in me
Cause my natural eyes only go skin deep
But the eye’s of my heart anchor the sea
Plumbing the depths to the place in between
The tangible world and the land of a dreams
Because everything ain’t quite it seems
There’s more beneath the appearance of things
A beggar could be king within the shadows,
Of a wing
And wisdom will honor everyone who will learn
To listen, to love, and to pray and discern
And to do the right thing even when it burns
And to live in the light through treacherous turns
A man is weak, but the spirit yearns
To keep on course from the bow to the stearn
And throw overboard every selfish concern
That tries to work for what can’t be earned
Sometimes the only way to return is to go,
Where the winds will take you
And to let go, of all, you cannot hold onto
For the hope, beyond, the blue
Yellow and gold as the new day dawns
Like a virgin unveiled who waited so long
To dance and rejoice and sing her song
And rest in the arms of a love so strong
No one comes unless they’re drawn
By the voice of desire that leads em’ along
To the redemption of what went wrong
By the blood that coveres the innocent one
No more separation
So lift your voice just one more time
If there’s any hope may it be a sign
That everything was made to shine
Despite what you can see
So take this bread and drink this wine
And hide your spirit within the vine
Where all things will work by a good design
For those who will believe
And let go, of all, we cannot hold onto
For the hope, beyond, the blue
Said I let go, of all, I could not hold onto
For the hope, I have, in you