When I sit to sort out what kind of lesson I could bring to the table, I pause, uncertain. I am learning so very much from extraordinarily sharp and powerful moments, but their lessons are coming so slowly.
Hopefully, I will be trying to sort through my thoughts and feelings here on the blog over the next weeks and months. And where do I start? Perhaps with my acute need. So, let’s walk arm in arm on the beach, my friend, and let me tell you about a great God who has seen me through once again.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
It’s a hard thing for a writer to be struck wordless. But after over 3 years of consistent blogging, I stumbled into a desert. I felt blasts of emotion like the onslaught of the desert sun. Circumstances bit into my skin like the blowing sting of a sandstorm. Have you ever tried to shout into a violent wind? My words were snatched away much like that. Even when I was still speaking, how could anyone hear me over all that thundering violence? Besides, even in my own head, I wasn’t sure how to parcel out my feelings and discoveries. Whenever I would attempt to revisit my pile of thoughts and experiences, I would type and stare, finally coming away with nothing.
Now that I think about it, God doesn’t ask us to always be able to neatly package our lives, especially when we are in the middle of living them. If His ways aren’t my ways–and I’m glad for that–then why should I be able to explain them?
It’s a good thing, then, that God doesn’t ask for neat packaging. He asks for trust.
Over the past months, I’ve walked through the deserts of loneliness, relational upsets, odd situations, and inadequacy. I’m not sure I’ve discovered any real secret, except for two things.
- I have to come to my relationships with a repenting and willing-to-trust heart (even when I feel like withdrawing to keep myself “safe”).
- I have to come to God with my nothingness and let Him fill me up with His total sufficiency.
This is a summary of a thing impossible to summarize. This is a inadequate definition of God’s ways, which are utterly impossible to find out.
A few weeks ago, I was battling with my burden for the pain of the world, personal struggle, and emotional exhaustion. Unknown to me, a music album I ordered showed up in my mailbox. As I played the words in the car, it was like every song was written for that moment.
“It’s not the news that any of us hoped that we would hear
It’s not the road we would have chosen, no
The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead
But You’re asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead”
So I did “lay my worry down and sing a song instead.” With fears lurking all around me, I picked up Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road album and began to commit it to memory. Truths from God’s word–sometimes even word-for-word Scriptures-washed over me like I had never heard them before.
You are loved
Not because of what you’ve done
Even when your heart has run the other way
Nothing’s gonna change His love
I hadn’t realized I was so thirsty for refreshing truths. I hadn’t known how desperate I was to be assured, again and again, that God was with me, for me, living inside of me, and accomplishing His purposes through me.
And I didn’t know I’d find You here
In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me, with peace
So I’ll lift my voice and sing
You’re gonna carry us through everything
You are drawing near
You’re overwhelming all my fears, with peace”
I’m not sure whether the music lifted me into a sort of resolution, or if it merely reflected a quiet place already forming inside my soul…but it came at just the right time, reminding me where my only hope is found.
In her album, Ellie talks about our Red Sea roads–impassable paths that God asks us to travel. Impassable, impossible paths. But these lyrics echo the song I have already been learning to sing.
This road is not impassable or impossible if the Road Maker is here.
And He is always, always here. Whether the road ahead is desolate desert or the unforgiving waves of a sea, He is here.
We will sing, to our souls
We won’t bury our hope
Where He leads us to go
There’s a red sea road
When we can’t see the way
He will part the waves
And we’ll never walk alone
Down a red sea road
We’ll never walk alone.
I’ve chosen a difficult way. More and more, I see the hand of God upon my circumstances and passions, directing me into the hard and dark corners of people’s lives. I have to have a light to take there. I can’t venture into those difficult, painful corners of the world without a way to fight back against the dark.
That’s why I have to remember. This Red Sea road is scary and this journey might be voted “Most Unlikely to Succeed.” But with God?
All things are possible. Amazing things are likely. The Best is guaranteed.
So walk the beach of the Red Sea with me, my friend, and look out across the rippling water.
You see, this isn’t just a stroll. That sea is getting ready to move out of the way.
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”
– Romans 8:35-37, NASB –