Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tossed About

My mind is like a popcorn popper today. It won't stay on one thing at a time, but keeps flitting around from one thing to the next. So many things to think about - so little time to focus. What I need is to unplug my brain.

Perhaps if I could unplug, then my mind will settle down and stop popping around hither and yon. Then maybe I can focus on one thing at a time and perhaps even get something accomplished. Maybe?

As I sit here trying to quiet my mind and focus, I am reminded of a scripture a dear friend pointed me to a while back.  At that time, I was having a hard time with some decisions I had made.  At that time,  I asked this friend for some prayers on my behalf. She said she would pray for me, and told me to read Psalm 42. I read the scripture that night before going to bed, and it did comfort me.

I am drawn to this scripture today because, again, I face some unsettling times. Once more, this morning I read Psalm 42 and was drawn to verse 7 that says "Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.".

That scripture represents how I have felt, periodically, over the past several months - as if the waves and breakers were sweeping over me, trying to drown me. Every time I come up for air, it seems another wave hits at just that moment, down again I go, into the fray. I feel as though I am being tossed back and forth in the breaks, just barely able to stay afloat, barely able to tread water, much less make any progress toward the shore.

Many times in the Psalms David cries out to God asking him "How long?". How long must he suffer? How long is God going to make him wait? Time after time God's answer seems to be "Until...". God allows us to be brought low as many times as it takes, for as long as it takes, until we learn what it is he wants us to learn.

I feel David's frustration.
I feel the same anguish as he must have felt as I struggle both mentally and physically with this burden. I am tired of it and I just want God to save me from it. It doesn't seem fair that I should still be laid flat by it. Surely it should not be this difficult. What is it that I am supposed to learn that I haven't learned yet? Tell me please, so I can just get some peace, Lord!

I know that may seem a bit overly dramatic and I am not comparing myself or my difficulties to David's. I know that David certainly had more to worry about in his life than I ever will, but I do feel a kinship to him and have learned so much from studying his life, and reading the scriptures that he wrote. It teaches me that obstacles can be overcome, no matter how insurmountable they seem.

David's life teaches me that I need to dig deep as I try to come to grips with my problems. It teaches me that I shouldn't always look outward for the cause of my problems, but yet, to take a hard look at myself and my own culpability in the situation.  It's not always someone else's fault.

Growing beyond our own limitations is often uncomfortable. It seems much safer and cozier to stay where we are; to understand life from inside the box. But growth is necessary and it sometimes hurts. Our inclination is, at the first sign of pain, to retreat back inside the box; it is safe, happy and comfortable there. I suppose we could live our whole life that way - denying any painful event that comes our way. I know I feel like it sometimes.

"Life's challenges are TOO HARD! Better to just dwell on the good things I have surrounded myself with here in my little box." In the long-run though, the scripture tells me I need to stretch out of my comfort zone. Time and again the scripture teaches to stretch myself further and make myself pliable to God. He is the one who will decide how much pressure to exert, how far I can stretch.  I don't claim to know the mind of God, so I don't know how much farther he believes I can stretched, but, if you ask me, I'm about to break if he doesn't stop soon. ;)

It hurts; I'll tell you that. I don't like my life much at the moment, I don't mind telling you that, either. The thing is, God doesn't require me to like it. He never said it was always going to be easy, or pretty, or comfortable, quite the opposite, actually, but he did promise me grace, mercy and love.

These three things, grace, mercy and love are the the core of every encounter David had with God. David made mistake after mistake in his lifetime, but God gave him grace, when he forgave him, showed him mercy punishment was necessary, he showed David love throughout his whole life; it's what got David through. I can pray only that God will find me worthy of the the same measure of all three as David was.