Sometimes life feels like a sucker-punch to the gut. The moment when air rushes out and doesn’t come back fast enough, when I’m unable to speak, to think, to move.
I lean in close to the Body. I whisper the story, quiet and pain-filled.
It is Delite Lago who answers, our lifetime friendship laying the foundation for her to speak with gentle firmness, “Remember the testing of our faith develops perseverance… which in turn is making you mature and complete, not lacking anything!”
In hushed agony, I respond, “But what if I don’t have any faith to test?”
And I admit it. I’m too afraid to pray. Too scared to believe. Too broken to even dream. Faith is but a distance hope that is as untouchable as the stars.
“Tash, don’t be ridiculous,” my sister-in-law chimes in, “faith is just choosing to believe. You do it all the time.”
I feel the shudders start, breath seeping in, oxygen inflating my lungs once more.
Her voice continues, “The thing is… The Lord loves to act. He does. But first, you have to ask. And sometimes the asking is hard work. It’s praying in the garden and sweating blood.”
I like the thought of things being easy, don’t you?
I don’t want to be the one in the garden, sweating blood. I want to be the one watching the miracles.
And when the miracles don’t come right away? I want to give up and move on. I want to read a novel and let my mind escape. I want to pretend like I never asked for a miracle, never really hoped for one at all. I want to do anything except bruise my knees and cry out my agony.
Because it hurts. Oh, how it hurts. And I might not like the answers and I sure enough don’t like this garden.
This garden that looks like loneliness, when it may seem like all your friends are sleeping.
This garden that looks like tears, they fall and fall and you cannot seem to stop them.
This garden that looks like fasting and praying, denying self, pushing forward, exhaustion.
This garden that looks like hard work, that looks like loss and wondering and
my God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
This garden of death that leads to… life?
Oh, friends, if there is going to be life from death, there has to be a garden. If our lives are truly going to reflect Christ, then there will be moments of betrayal and hurt and loss, there will be moments when we just can’t breathe… there will be moments of death.
But those moments are only paving the way for life.
So let us persevere, right through this garden-time. Let perseverance finish its work in us that we might become mature and complete– not lacking anything. And isn’t that a promise to cling to?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
for more thoughts, visit me today at Kindred Grace: you will face more than you can bear