Psalm 121:8 “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.”
“Off Duty…Call 911.” How would we feel if we needed help and those who could help were “Off Duty.” Recently my deepest fears have been awakened. My husband and children have faced health issues that placed us in various states of emergency. As my family members faced their own unique trials, my faith was tested and my affections revealed; those affections were observed raw and unguarded.
As a wife, seeing my life-long friend suffering so seemed incomprehensible. It became readily apparent that regardless of the years spent together, in the end, it’s never enough. As a mother, protecting my children comes as natural as breathing. The innate response to shield and care for ones own is so strong that it cuts through communal mores and is obtuse to the boundaries one should follow when interacting with ones adult children.
For the loving family, the rigors of hospital vigils and long-awaited test results have the capacity to stretch one’s faith. When faced with dire circumstances, we might ask, “How can this be happening? Where is God in all of this?” If we were honest, we might even feel as though God were “off duty.”
As we watch our family and friends suffer, we vicariously join them in their suffering and while we “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2), we too become infirm. Our inherited malady looks different than the identified patient. Our wounds are not of the kind that threaten our physical existence, but are emotional wounds. Though these wounds are not life threatening, we feel as though our souls are bleeding out. These wounds touch us in a place that holds the sum of our insecurities, our regrets and our unspoken fears.
It is precisely during these dark nights of the soul that God is experienced and observed clearly. He has a way of using desperation to burn off the dross of the inconsequential and opening the eyes to profound truths. The emergency state, although initially internalized as traumatic, becomes the vehicle that God uses to bring us back to dependence upon Himself. We see Him for who He is and we see ourselves for who we are. We find that God has never been “off duty.” We live largely independent of God but an unplanned crisis brings us to our knees, figuratively and positionally. Not a bad thing after all.
We watched God work through the long days and even longer nights to restore our priorities. I would not have chosen these experiences for my family or myself, but having experienced God’s presence and watched Him reveal Himself in new and fresh ways, I now would not choose to avoid them.
Father God, Thank you for your presence. Thank you that you are ever with us and that you are intimately involved in every detail of our lives. Thank you that You use the difficulties of life to reveal Your character and bring us close to Your heart. Thank you that Your love for us endures forever and that You are all that we could ever want or need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.