Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Piles of Despair

A friend of mine who is normally upbeat was painfully honest last night. She said that things had not been going well and hadn't been for some time. Not knowing what is going on in her life, and assuming just a little from what she said, I determined that it must be just a collection of little miseries that had combined into one big pile of despair. A pile of despair will knock you off of your game no matter how much you try to put on a happy face.

Believing that everything turns out for our good is definitely something to hold onto, but it sometimes feels like we are standing out in the driving rain with a flat tire on a dark and deserted stretch of the highway of life with no cell service. We know what it is we need to do, and may even have some idea about how to be practical...we just yearn for someone to come along and tell us to get in the warm car while they change our tire.

I hope that my friend knows that doctors are amazingly smart to have gotten through medical school...but they are no match for the Great Physician. Recoveries often defy logic...and medical precedent. But even if the prayers for the 1 in 100 odds for improvement aren't answered and hope isn't riding shotgun...know that with a negative answer often comes a truckload of grace and comfort.

Most of us spend the first half of our lives speeding up everything...wanting to blow through really thinking of how special the mundane moments really are in retrospect. All of the time that we spent wishing away is granted in the second half of our life as we see time spinning faster and faster each year. We have to stop where we are and look around and know that we aren't passing this way again. And we have to be grateful for this recognition. For it is knowing this that not only makes us mature...but gives us a way to fully appreciate our lives.

Even as we don't particularly appreciate the pile of despair that has gathered around our feet.

The pile of despair is a collection of unmet expectations, bad news, hassles and tears that just seems to sit in our lives like the oft described 800 pound gorilla in the room. We want it gone, but can't seem to get it to budge. We chip away at it, will it away, and pray that it will move when we really get determined, but sometimes it seems destined to live with us forever. Not so. We have to have faith that we can move that mountain with God's help...and then we have to tell it to go.

And one day, in God's time, it will comply, and we will find that it has disappeared completely. It just sometimes takes longer than we believe it should. Also, we may see progress and then find that the thing has grown roots again. We then have to dig really deeply into our faith to know that this battle is not just is the Lord's. And it is a battle that He is going to win.

I hope that my friend will look up today and see that He has His eye on her today and knows that where she is right now is temporary. In fact, the knowledge that one is actually in the pit generally means that one is surely on your way out. Much like economists look back and tell us that we were in a recession long before we actually knew it. So, on blind faith, I hope that she will believe that God has already delivered her and that she is sitting in the car...warm and He changes the tire.

I wish for her and for all of us days where it is possible to see the rainbow instead of the rain, the roses instead of the thorns and the good instead of the pain. I didn't necessarily intend to rhyme there, but get the point. Those of you who see someone stranded on the side of the road...stop and help. Pray. Send a card. Take them to dinner. Make them smile. I mean...that's why we're really all here anyway. To serve each other in love. We just forget that because we are staring at the pile of despair in our own lives.

Hang in there, my friend. Whatever it is...I know that He can make that mountain move. And when He does, you'll be stronger and prepared to walk alongside others who are out there stranded right now. Keep believing that better days are ahead. I'll be praying for you.

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