lightning rods

Sometimes I have just felt like a lightning rod.  Getting hit by one crazy thing after another.  There was a five-year period of my life when it was off the chain, out of control, and there was nothing I could do but pray for it to stop.  And it felt like it wasn't going to stop.  Ever. This morning I was sitting with a friend who's in a lightning rod season.  And we were talking about our mutual need to fix, control, and do it right so that God will understand that we have learned our lessons well, we are back on the straight and narrow, and the storm can stop any time now, thank you very much.

And I said that sometimes I think there's nothing we can do, but go through it.

We haven't done anything wrong.  It's just life.

And there's nothing more we can fix.  We don't have that much control.

And there may be a lesson, somewhere.  But we probably won't figure it out for another five or ten years.

We just have to hang tight and go through it.  The only way through it is through it.

And she said I had to write this down on the blog.  So there you go.  I hear and obey.

Here's something else I think goes with this.  It's a commentary on these verses:

O Israel, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?  How can you say God refuses to hear your case?  Have you never heard or understood?  Don't you know that the Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth?  He never grows faint or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak.  Even youths become exhausted, and young men will give up.  But those who wait for the Lord will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and got grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.  (Isaiah 40:27-31, New Living Translation)

And here's what John Claypool has to say about this, after losing his young daughter to leukemia:

"Who wants to be slowed to a walk, to creep along inch by inch, just barely above the threshold of consciousness and not fainting?  That may not sound like much of a religious experience, but believe me, in the kind of darkness where I have been, it is the only form of the promise that fits the situation.  When there is no occasion to soar and no place to run, and all you can do is trudge along step by step, to hear of a Help that will enable you 'to walk and not faint' is good news indeed."

I don't think I'm going too far out on a theological limb if I take this just a little bit further.

Because I think that when we can't get there on our own two feet, he carries us.

My support for this is in the same chapter of Isaiah.  Chapter 40, verse 11:  He will feed his flock like a shepherd.  He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart.

And for me, one of the greatest acts of faith in my life was to stop trying to do things so well, to stop trying to be so strong all the time, to stop worrying about what kind of example it would be if I didn't get through all this with a big smile on my face singing glory hallelujah.

It was a huge, enormous, gigantic act of faith to stop and say, this sucks.  It's so bad, and there's no way out that I can see.  Nothing works to make it better.  God, you better carry me, cuz I have fallen and I can't get up.

And you know, that wasn't a magic wand.  It was all still broken and painful and terrible.  It did not look like much of a religious experience to me or anybody else.

But now, five or ten years later, I can look back and say--oh.  Redemption.

The Everlasting God.  The Shepherd of my soul.

Who never faints.  Never grows weary.

Works all things together.

Loves me with an everlasting love.

And gives me the gift of friends, who will sit with me.  And who will let me sit with them.

And we pass this word around the circle, to whoever needs it most at the time:  we're going to get through it, together.

Love will carry us through.

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