Thursday, September 19, 2013

Trying to Block the Sun with a Speck of Dust

Everywhere I go, I see the t-shirts, "Come Hell or High River." There is a sense of camaraderie. A sense of overcoming something very difficult together. It feels good to be an overcomer. Even so, there are whisperings around us. Uncertainties surface when we least expect it. Will it happen again? Will someone I know be washed away? And then the waves overwhelm because nothing is normal yet. Windows are still boarded, homes are still gutted and there is still no timeline for normal-ness.

Someone recently told me that I was so strong. It felt good to hear. I felt a moment of superhero-ish exaltation. Yet my conscience whispered to me that it rang false.

As ironic as it sounds, I've discovered that even in difficult circumstances, my inner light needs a little damper. Inflated egos are ugly. And I'm beginning to see clearly that my inner light and strength is a flickering wick compared with the massive inferno of God's power, beauty and light. My ego rushes forward to impress, hoping to eclipse an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. It's like trying to block the sun with a speck of dust.   I'm not sure how many times I need to trip and fall before I understand that God is not impressed with my strength. The power of Christ rests on me in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)

There are some things that can only be learned though experience. God's way defies logic. The way down is the way up. The path to joy is through suffering. The way forward is never straight and easy. It is full of bends and valleys and mountains. It's hard to grow when you're carried from mountaintop to mountaintop, but what's learned in the valley is life changing.

The words of that great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, make me pause:
Those who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but those who "do business in great waters" these see His "wonders in the deep." Among the huge Atlantic waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.
It can be easy to live in an illusion of greatness, but it only takes a quiet moment underneath the numberless stars or a long glance at the mighty ocean to feel how small we really are. I find it profoundly freeing to admit my frailty, especially because it causes me to lean on Christ. I feel his mighty power rest upon me in my smallness. In Christ, I become part of something bigger then myself. United to Someone stronger, brighter and infinitely more beautiful than myself, I am filled with hope.

As I walk, trip and crawl through this dark valley, I trust that even though I cannot see clearly, there is a purpose in it. I am learning to be content with weakness and trials because His grace is sufficient for me.