Sunday, September 23, 2012

Into the Deep Woods

"One of the most essential qualities of faith that is to attempt great things for God and expect great things from God, is holy audacity. Where we are dealing with a supernatural Being, and taking from Him things that are humanly impossible, it is easier to take much than little; it is easier to stand in a place of audacious trust than in a place of cautious, timid clinging to the shore. Likewise, seamen in the life of faith, let us launch out into the deep, and find that all things are possible with God, and all things are possible unto him that believeth." ~AB Simpson

The path that Matt and I have shared hasn't always been easy. But it hasn't been a particularly hard one, either. Like most families, we've had our ups and downs and have had to continually cling to God. There have been fantastic, gloriously happy times and then there's been this past year and half, which has been pretty grueling.

We've had a bit of a breather during the past few months months as events and emotions have settled down a little. It felt nice to coast.

But now.

Now it appears that our path is leading us down into the deep, dark woods. It's hard to follow a path that looks scary.

Matt's back surgery is rapidly approaching. He had another surgery (for a dog bite, not his back) over ten years ago and it was surrounded by such trauma that it convinced him to hand his life over to God for the first time. I know that God can use difficulties to make an impact when plain ol' regular life just ain't doin' it.   I understand that God's plans don't always make sense to me at first. And even though I trust God because He has gotten me through many hard, scary, and sad times, I am starting to seize up a little with panic. Inwardly, of course. And deep down. I try not to let it show, but even more importantly, I try not to let it be. I lean heavily on promises like:

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Romans 5:3-5

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I like this, the English Standard Version, most of the time, but in other versions (New American Standard, perhaps?) Romans 5:5 says "and hope does not disappoint..." which I find comforting. 

So when my path looks like this:


...I will try to remind myself to focus on the light farther down, past the dark trees. 


"Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot, and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as "in all points tempted like as we are," bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us." ~Alexander MacLaren image by RichardFreeman



Amen.

Still, it's not easy for me and I could use some prayers for extra grace and protection during the coming months as we hike down this trail. I'm hoping that when we've made it through to the sunshine, we'll be able to look back at it behind us and realize that it was a fragrant pine forest, and the shade was a shelter, not a fear-inducing gloom. It would be even better if we could realize it while we're still in there.

~*~

quotes and path pic found on http://inclineyourheart.blogspot.com/

4 comments:

Dawn Pickering said...

Oh dear friend I am praying for you and we added Matt and you to our family prayer board! You are so precious to us! Thank you for this reminder...as we prepare to rasie funds for a reversal sometimes I feel like I am in the deep dark woods and no one is around. A great reminder tonight! Many blessings to you!! Love, Dawn

edie said...

You have a way with words, my friend, and God has a way with you.

The Journey said...

you have our prayers. What date is Matt's surgery? It is hard going through those dark times, but when the Lord sees us through those woods, lessons he has taught us are precious. I don't want to repeat any of our dark times but I am thankful that I learned to trust the Lord through them. hugs dear friend.

Linda in Lafayette.

Joshua King said...

Will fall pass before another entry, I wonder?

I miss your writing style.