Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Learning To Lean



As one who has trusted God from childhood, I thought I had learned how to lean on the Lord. At every crisis point of my life, I turned to Him in prayer, asking for His help and direction. I searched the scriptures for words of comfort and courage. I had faith that God would, and could, bring me through whatever situation life brought to me. I felt secure in what I believed and knew my faith would remain intact, regardless of my circumstances.
How smug I was in my faith. Though it never crossed my mind that I was better than anyone else because I trusted God, I had grown rather prideful of my relationship with God. I just knew that, because I loved Him so much, God would never allow me to be put to the test. I had come to honestly believe that God loved me too much to allow me to suffer in any way. Little did I know what life had in store for me---little did I know what I would learn about really trusting God.
My lessons began with the loss of a twenty year marriage. I loved my husband dearly and my whole world was shattered the day he walked out of my life. I was dazed, shocked, hurt, and so lost. My spirit crumbled within me and my heart shrank into nothingness. Two years later, the loss of a second brother wrenched my heart. I hurt so badly---David was my friend, my confidant, my protector. I felt as if a hole had been dug into my life and I was falling in. Several years later, a close friendship fell apart. Someone who had been the dearest friend I had ever had, no longer desired that friendship and, once again, I felt rejected and alone. Recent tragedies in my family (see my previous post) have, again, served to reshape my relationship with God. Finally, just a week ago, my brother, Daniel, and his wife suffered the loss of their daughter. She was 30 years old and passed away in her sleep.
During these times I found myself weeping and wailing before the Lord. I cried out, "Why, Lord? Why have you allowed these things to come? What have I done that has provoked your anger?". I felt betrayed by God and could not understand why He had allowed such suffering to come to me. I searched my heart and life to find something--anything--that would give me a clue as to why God had, literally, pulled back His protective hedge. Why was God allowing these dark times, these "Dark nights of the soul", as the author Thomas Moore calls them.
Early one morning, as I was praying earnestly for understanding, the words of a recent message came back to me. I had heard a minister speak a few weeks before, regarding this very subject. I recalled his words, "When you were in school, you had a teacher. Your teacher went through each lesson with you. He/she explained each problem, covered each principle, and made sure you understood what was being taught. But, when it came time for the test, the teacher was silent. He/she didn't say anything, didn't answer any questions, didn't provide any explanations regarding what was on the test. The teacher was silent while the test was going on. The test was the only way the teacher could find out if you had learned what you were being taught. When God allows a test, He can be silent, too.".
It finally hit me. I was "taking the test". God was silent. He needed to know if I had learned the lessons He wanted me to learn. What were the lessons? Lean on Him when life hits hard. Never leave His side if I want to know the way. Stay close to Him if I want to make it safely. The only way that God would know for sure if I had learned how to lean was to allow me to be placed in a circumstance that was beyond my control. He took me out of my comfort zone, out of every thing that I was capable of handling on my own, and placed me smack dab in the middle of a situation that only He could help me through. My knowledge of His Word served me well---it became my handbook. The habit of prayer enabled me to go to Him with the slightest pain, the deepest agony, and talk to Him as I would to a dear friend. I was truly learning what it meant to lean on the Lord. It was a painful, but necessary, lesson.
I cannot say that I will never again question God as to why He allows what He allows. I cannot say that I will always come to Him first rather than try to find the answer for myself. But I can say that I have come to love leaning on the Lord. I have found safety, security, and refuge when I run to the strong arms of God.
All the sorrows and despairs of my life have only served to teach me, to prepare me, for the tests life is sure to bring. Though my heart may ache, my spirit sag, and my song disappear, I know where to run. I have the perfect hiding place---the shadow of the Almighty. Through it all, I lean on Him. He is, after all, the God who cannot fail.

In Grace,
Marie

4 comments:

  1. Marie, it is so hard to go through hurt, pain and betrayal. One of my blogging friends named Jill always tells me it's another opportunity to trust God. We may not understand the why of it all, but we know who to run to; Jesus. I hear your pain and my heart hurts for all you've been going through. I think we become more sensitive to other's hurting when we ourselves are going through difficulties.

    I think of 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."

    As Christians, we are not promised a life of ease and comfort. Suffering is part of our walk. But the difference is we are never alone. The Lord has promised to always be with us and His promises are true. I've found in some of my darkest days that is when I am totally leaning on Him and drawing close to Him. He is my comfort and sustainer. And Marie ...He loves you so much. You are not alone. Run to Him even when you can't feel Him. Stand on what you know to be true. Trust God with your emotions.

    Praying for you sister Marie.

    Love,
    Debbie

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  2. Marie, I truly believe that he has also given you the gift of sharing his love thru your creative writing. Thank you for reminding me that I too, always need to lean on Christ in my time of struggle with life's disappointments and praise him in life's joys.((hugs))

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  3. I'm so sorry you've been going through some rough waters.
    I love the example you gave from your minister.....I've never thought of it like that....but it's so true.....Wow..... profound thought of God being silent to see if we 'got it'....
    Marie, you're writings/words are always such an inspiration !!! You have a gift....
    Please know that you're in my thoughts and prayers.

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  4. I love the idea of my taking a test, and my teacher is silent. seeing if I will remember what He taught me...
    and then I remember the good teachers who would see you were discouraged, or having a hard time remembering the answers and they would walk by and put a hand on your shoulder...

    it was a reminder that they were still there...

    I always needed that hand.

    Love you Ma'am....

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