Life has its way of dragging us through highs and lows. Some days are so wonderful that we take snapshots in our minds or pictures on our phones to remember them as vividly as possible. It may be a day that a prayer was answered or someone special finally came home. Maybe it was a wedding day or just precious time spent with loved ones. It is easy in those times to smile and say, “Thank you God, You are so good.” If only all days were so lovely.
We have all been there. A loved one passes away. Someone once thought to be “the one” breaks our heart. Everything that could possibly go wrong does and we are left feeling frustrated and worthless. Days like these are the ones we desperately wish we could just fast forward through and forget forever. Is God still good then?
In the past couple weeks, something began to weigh heavy on my heart in very real way. I am not someone who necessarily “hears from God” on a daily basis, but that Sunday night I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He was asking me to do something terrifying. He was asking me to trust him and do something that not only scared me but would also hurt someone I cared about deeply. He was asking for my obedience.
“If you love me, keep my commands,” These words from John 14:15 resonated with me that night. It is easy to love God when He showers blessings or opens doors of opportunity. It is, however, much harder to take that a step farther in the face of fear and pain. I wish I could tell you that this was the first time I’ve felt this way and that I chose right away to obey with a happy heart. I wish I could tell you the easier story. Alas, that is not the story I have come to tell.
So often, especially in our culture in today, we somehow think that showing our pain or struggling is weakness. Strength is not a measure of how well we can “go it alone”. That, my dear, is pride. Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is to be open and share the truth of what we are living. We were made to need each other and live in dependency on the One who made us. Sometimes it’s okay to not be okay.
The week that followed for me was difficult to say the least. I felt like I was self-destructing, falling apart at the seams. I got to the point that my prayers in the morning consisted of one simple phrase, “God I need you today.” I knew I had to obey, but it seemed like an impossible request.
I learned something beautiful in that week of being so vulnerable and fragile. I needed God. Being in that place every morning of realizing that I knew I wouldn’t make it through the day unless I had His strength, brought me to a new place of dependency on Him. I knew I couldn’t make it on my own. Then it struck me: isn’t this how it’s supposed to be?
Living in my pride, I had taught myself that I could make it, for the most part, on my own. Sometimes if I really needed God, I could call to Him for safe travel, lost luggage, healing… you know the drill. Never before had I been in such a raw place of knowing I could not take a single breath without His help. Personally, I never want to go back to a place of thinking I don’t need Him ever again.
There is such a beauty in being so dependent on Him. He is the only one who will always be there (Deut 31:6). He our refuge (Ps 46:1-3). He is there when our heart is breaking (Ps 34:18) and He is faithful to do as He’s promised (Ps 33:4). In Him, we will always have hope (Ps 71:14-15). Being at my lowest, I learned what it meant to be made whole in Him.
Ultimately, I did obey. I stepped out on the water, trusting that He was going to work it all out. I wish I could sit here and tell you how it wasn’t painful and all went great, but that isn’t how my story went. It was painful. It was terrifying. My heart broke. But I had peace. In the midst of one the most difficult things I have ever had to do, I had total perfect peace. I had done what I was asked to do, and I knew He was with me.
It’s okay to not be okay. Living in complete dependency on Him has been the most beautiful thing, and I would have never ended up here had He not shaken my life up a little. Sometimes the greatest blessings come out of brokenness.
“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Ps 116:7