Recently I have been in an intense spiritual struggle. I found myself lying prostrate before God a few days ago. I just laid there on my living room floor hoping that the Holy Spirit would interpret what I was trying to say to God. What was I trying to say to God? I really don’t know. I just know that I needed him desperately. In spite of my love for him, there seemed to be this great abyss that I couldn’t cross over. He was way over there on the safe side, and I was here, hoping the rocks wouldn’t crumble under my feet. He was calling to me to come to him, but all I could see was the blackness of that abyss. I didn’t have any walk-on-water faith. That’s when I fell to the floor before him with unrecognizable pleas for pity. I had forgotten that God’s idea of compassion was sometimes different than mine. Sometimes God’s love is tough. I too often find myself treating God like a magician who can wave a magic wand and zap away the things I don’t like. God fortunately doesn’t work that way. He reveals himself to me in the person of Jesus Christ. He allows me to discover him for myself, making what I learn about him really stick. He leads me to the solutions and walks me through the steps. Just like a father helping his child with his algebra homework wouldn’t just do it for him, God doesn’t do it for me either. What would I learn? What would I really believe about him if he did things that way?
I didn’t feel any different after I got up off the floor, but I knew that God saw me. I knew that a bridge was being laid across that abyss. I knew it not because of how I felt, but because of what he promises in his word.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Ironically, the rest that Jesus called me to was action. Sounds funny doesn’t it? I felt paralyzed by my circumstances, and the longer I stood there the further I sank. So he bent down, reached out his hand, picked me up, and said, “Go.” He didn’t lift me out of the miry clay so I could just sit down and rest. He lifted me up so I could, “Go.”
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
AS I WALKED ALONG.
Sometime after I had that encounter with God on my living room floor, I found a pile of yellow lined paper setting on the dining room table. My husband had found a legal pad to write on and inside were several old notes of mine from when I taught a Sunday school class several years ago. I leafed through them, and as I read the words, tears came to my eyes as God brought me full circle to a lesson he has been trying to teach me for years. Scribbled on the yellow paper I read, “When God tells us to do something, in order to be obedient we have to make adjustments in our lives. We can’t continue life as usual, stay where we are and go with God at the same time. Noah could not continue life as usual and build an ark at the same time. Moses could not stay in the desert herding sheep and stand before Pharaoh at the same time. The ultimate act of faith is becoming a Christian, allowing God to dwell within us and become Lord of our life. God calls us to action so that his will can be fulfilled on this earth. We are his agents and should be ready, willing and honored to answer his call. The church was founded on men and women who were willing to take action, make adjustments, and be obedient.”
So there on the floor of my living room, motionless and empty, God raised me up, not by pitying me, but by calling me to action. I thought my paralysis caused my inaction, but God has shown me that my inaction had caused my paralysis. Simple? Maybe. All I know is that he washed the clay off my feet and got me moving again. And like the refreshing waters flowing against the hard dry rocks in these pictures, He restored my soul. The only thing I did was go to him with no words, no feeling, and no idea how to get across the abyss. He honors our coming.