November 27th, 2012

by faith, cloud, even though, habakkuk


I began the year quite joyfully, full of questions and color. By the fall, I was drained of color and despairing.

What happened? Confused feelings about what I want to do in the future, a desire to settle down, the pursuit of intense interests leading to so many "dead ends", failed plans to relocate, balancing between two churches and being unable to make a full transition to the one where I felt most at home, yet another year of frustration at the office, growing anxiety, months spent trying to get answers on how and why I'm driven in such unusual ways. There were days when I could barely muster the courage to get up in the morning - mornings when I marched to work in a cloud of angry disappointment reciting the words of the modeh ani and the song of Habakkuk in an act of sheer will. I feel like I've been dragging myself through the mud.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance." Psalm 42:5 (NKJV)

"see me stumble / see me fall / been so close to lose it all /
all these times that i cried / where's the angel by my side? /
countless thoughts fill my head / won't they vanish? / feel so sad /
still there's light / still i fight / still i feel / i'm alive" phalanx - i'm alive

If nothing else, I was determined to live on, simply as a testimony to the God who lives. But all the while, I felt lost, spun around in so many circles by these soul-absorbing interests and dropped off in the same place again and again. I couldn't find a way to "shape the image of the mind" or to share my zeal for the history of Messiah. I began to withdraw from commitments in order to take a step back and find my way. I sought advice from counselors and I searched for clear answers in the midst of the confusion. I tasted again that fear of "growing up", that fear of "real life". I nearly retreated back into denial, but knew that there was no going back now.

Sometimes, I couldn't sleep until I turned up the techno and just moved about to the music. I didn't seem to fit anywhere; but at least I could melt into the sound, even if it was just for a few moments. Coffee and tea also served as a comfort to remind me that He fills our mouths with good things. I'm sure that part of my despair was due to my neglect of the word and of prayer. I began a study of the first book of Psalms to find the God who is with me. I will know that Holy One! But it was still hard. It was foreign. And by then I had given up so many plans that I could only cling to Jesus by the hem of his robes. Praise be to Him who never lets go of His people (John 10)!

I still feel like I'm dragging, but I'm lifting up my eyes to the One who draws me up out of many waters (Psalm 18:16). He has a mighty arm and a strong hand (Psalm 89:13). He is able to bind up and heal (Psalm 147:3). He is mighty to save. He is the star which has risen victoriously (Numbers 24:17). "The shout of a King" is here with me! (Numbers 23:21, Hebrews 13:5) So I will "step forth" with Him into victory in faith.

"Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever." Psalm 125:1 (NKJV)
Messiah, Son of David

Live by faith

"...whatever is not from faith is sin." Romans 14:23

I read these words yesterday while preparing for our weekly Bible study. Granted, they're taken out of context here; but even in context, I was stunned by them. I still seem to live according to the idea that sin is merely a bad action that I take now and then. But this opens up my eyes to see sin more clearly - as a matter of the heart's orientation toward God. I want to live a holy life of faith under the Lordship of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). I want to be able to say with Paul: "...the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 May God open my eyes to clearly discern right from wrong and to see Him in the beauty of His holiness (1 Chronicles 16:29).