Most days we walk and stand confidently on whatever surface we are on at that given time. We tend to find ourselves sturdier on concrete than we do on an old wooden bridge, but we stand firmly knowing the bottom underneath us won’t fail. What happens on that day where the bottom underneath us does give way? Do we say we are never standing on that surface again, that we are never trusting that surface again….or do we figure out a way to stand back up and take “faith” in that surfaces ability to withstand our weight…our burdens…our life?
This past Friday, my beloved RRP community lost one of its brightest stars. The bottom gave way for many of us, most of us. That unwelcome reminder of the disease and all of its ugliness.For those of us with pulmonary involvement, it was one of those moments you wonder if you will be able to take your next breath. I originally considered blogging specific to the RRP event of last week, but as the days have unfolded, I have found more questions regarding faith, God, the unknown….finding joy. Not all my own questions, but a collection of questions from those in this special community that are working earnestly today to just regain the footing…..where the bottom gave way. Then, I see these are not questions just for this community, but questions being asked daily, moment by moment….what to do when the bottom gives way.
Personally, my footing has been shaky for a few months. I won’t go back into the details, but losing my Mother, a major life move and then learning of the progression of my disease…well….the bottom was barely hanging by a thread. So, now I find myself consumed by my own mortality…my own unknowns….and consumed by this compelling need to find a better way….refusing to accept the known…it’s clear it doesn’t work. Questions to God such as, “Show me a purpose in all of this,” “Show me how this all fits,” and “Why?” Most of all, as many in my community have expressed, finding “Joy.”
Life can kick you straight in the gut somedays. It will knock you off your feet and send the bottom falling into the great abyss. So, how do you get back up? How do you function in the period between “standing firm” to “standing back up?” What sustains you? Clearly, death is not an area any of us are equipped to process on our own. Just as the prospect of death is too much for a human to bear. It’s clear we have to have something more. It can’t just be on our own strength.
I’ll be honest. I was one of those back in the day that would get so incredibly angry at God for taking the life of a child…cancer, RRP, tragic accidents….whatever it was. it was really only in the past couple of years that I began to see it in a different way. My God, my savior, he mourns just as we mourn. He grieves with us in illness and in death. I have to know that when the fall of man took place, that fall was all of mankind. His perfect creation forever ruined. That brought us disease, pain, hunger…the very things we pray to end. A world full of sinful mankind has unleashed a world of sin….and I may never understand how or why….but I have to trust that in some way…at some point in time…everything bad will be used for good. I have to trust this on the days that my tears and my weak human heart and mind are upset, angry, and finding anything but joy.
I have to trust when I am paralyzed with fear or anger or hurt…that God will hold me up when the bottom gives way. That when I think it’s impossible to take one more step, that He moves my feet for me. I, in turn, have to be willing to let God then use me in ways I don’t see how I am even qualified for or how I even can find the strength for. Where I find my trust is without borders.
I have to trust these words found in Romans 8:26-28 (The Message)
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
How to you manage on those days the bottom gives way? And how do you find the joy in the midst of such pain and sorrow? How do you find the faith that allows you to trust what holds the bottom together?