I will be the first to admit that I have not suffered nearly as much as saints who have gone before me. My hardships are meager when compared to those of the first century Christians, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, or William Tyndale. However, the troubles that currently loom over my family seem just as menacing as the executioner’s blade. What follows is the cry of my heart in a time of little understanding, many questions, and mounting fears.
How could it come to this after months of prayer and desperation? How could the answer be “No” again? How can the love we’ve poured out mean nothing to anyone outside of our family? How is it possible that our investment in this life be relegated as unimportant, second class, or ephemeral at best? How can THIS be God’s plan?
God, I don’t understand. God, I don’t get it. God, I don’t know if we can survive this again or why you would ask us to. God, I know that you can do amazing things that are so big and so humanly impossible, but will you this time? God, it feels like we have been strung along with bread crumbs of hope only to find that the trail leads to a crucible of heart ache and devastation. God, it feels like all we ever hear from you is “No.” I know that’s not the truth, but my feelings, as fallible and selfish as they are, are shouting so loud in this moment that I am struggling to chase after you. Instead, I feel my insides literally trembling with fear. I feel my chest tighten when I think of what may await us in the coming weeks. I hear the sobbing of my wife in the middle of the night. Our pillows are drenched with sorrow as we wrestle in prayer. Our minds drift towards the dark possibilities that loom large in the distance.
God, is this what the valley of the shadow of death looks and feels like? If so, I am coming to understand David’s repeated cries for comfort and deliverance. God, I don’t want to be here, but here I am. Here we are. Where will we be tomorrow? What will life look like if and when the next tide of sweeping decrees roll in from those who seem to have unchecked power in our family’s destiny?
God, help. Please. If I am to be more than a conqueror in this, it must be you who works. It must be you who fights and wins the victory. It must be you who overcomes. It must be you who blazes a trail of rescue out of the jagged cliffs and perilous terrain that we find ourselves helplessly perched upon.
God, I cannot do this. But you can. God, help. Please.