The Depths and Heights of Death and Life
I don’t know about you, but when I am deeply desperate, when darkness is suffocating, and I am feeling close to death–that’s when I am driven to my knees. Even knowing God, I still tend to stand tall, exhausting every last possibility within my power, until when all my best efforts have failed, I cry out. Don’t misunderstand me: I do pray first, and throughout, but when I am at the end of myself my prayers turn to pleas and I cling like a child, like a drowning child gasping for, grasping at Life.
Over the years I have found myself in an ocean of darkness many times; I have sunk to my knees less frequently. I prefer to float, to coast, and when waters get rough, signaling an approaching storm, I make lists. I plan, I research, I prepare. When the waves kick up and the sky gets black and my lists are violently wrenched from my grip and my mind goes blank forgetting my plans and my research becomes ineffectual as I never accounted for factors x, y, or z, and all my preparations go straight down the drain I scramble, arms flailing, blindly reaching out, desperate for debris, for a raft, for a hand.
Without fail I find Life reaching back and I am pulled out of the raging waters. I am steadied, I am soothed, I am stilled. The storm may stop; it may not. But I have. I have stopped striving; I have ceased seeking my way. I have surrendered myself into His care and have at long last found rest. Until the next time. Until this last time. See, this last time I cried out and reached up and God grasped my hand, and then–He let go. He let me sink. On the bottom, on my knees, I drowned and died and He raised me up and showed me, “This, this is what you must do.”
I had to let go; I had to let God. I had to trust beyond the blessing I sought; I had to trust the Blesser. I had to die; I had to live. I had to dive deeper. He wanted me higher. He wanted my sights set solely, securely above the storm–on Him. In this place, even in pain, even in the choppy, sloppy storms of life, I have peace. I have joy. I have hope. Even face-to-face with apparently unanswered prayer, all my prayers are answered. Even in the face of nothing going my way, I am face-to-face with Everything.
The Lord has allowed these storms to wash away my walls, wipe them clean out, and Love now flows freely, and this, this is Everything. I have cried out through sweat and tears and have found that better than receiving the blessing is receiving the Blesser.
Like Jacob, we must contend, we must fight. We don’t fight God; we fight our flesh. We fight the enemy. We fight through to cling to the One who can change our names, who can change our lives. Persistent prayer will prevail. Even if it seems He’s let you go, let you down, let you drown–fear not. His life is resurrection life. The end of you is the beginning of Him. And He is Everything.