Ever have one of those moments when the veil lifts, so to speak, and you catch a glimpse – however fleeting – of what God is doing?
I had one of those moments a few weeks ago.
Those who know me IRL or those who have been reading this blog for awhile know that I deal a lot with fear and panic. My brain tends to go to the worst case scenario right away, and I have to talk myself down from the ledge quite often.
Trust is something I have great difficulty with, obviously.
I was in the mood to watch something on netflix while I was couponing (gotta redeem the time, right?), so I poked around until I stumbled across a show called “Obsessed.” It was an A&E show on people who deal with OCD and panic attacks. Seeing that it was right up my alley, I decided to watch. To some people it may be a purely voyeuristic affair, but for me, who deals with this on a regular basis, it was sooooooo incredibly helpful.
After watching an episode or two, I started asking the Lord, “Why? Why am I not more like these people, who are struggling so much more than I am? I was definitely heading in that direction with all of the OCD behaviors I dealt with during my childhood and teenaged years... why am I NOT more like they are?”
I didn't get an answer in words, but I did get a fast trip down memory lane of all the times that I was definitely going over the edge – three very powerful experiences in particular where it was obvious that He was pulling me back. In each of these instances, I was losing all control, and I was powerless to keep myself from falling over the cliff. He stepped down each time and very firmly planted my feet back on solid ground.
It was then that the “insight,” if I want to call it that, came. I could see that there is a boundary around me – I can go right up to that fence, but He will not let me go any farther, and will pull me back each time. Within that boundary, however, is a big grassy area that, in my life, is my battle with fear and worry. It became crystal clear at that moment that He is allowing this in my life because He wants to use it to help me grow in holiness. The fear and anxiety that I deal with can be used for constructive purposes if I cooperate with Him and the work He is doing in my life. He knows where I am, and He's not disgusted with me or what I'm dealing with.
Now, of course, the conversation could easily go in the direction of, “If God is so loving, why would He want you to struggle in the first place? That seems cruel.” I know all the “appropriate” answers, but none of that is very helpful in the middle of suffering. It stinks, and that's all there is to that. I find greater comfort in the fact that Jesus voluntarily put Himself down in the middle of all this muck and endured the same sorts of things... including anxiety. Our pastor preached a homily two weeks ago on “The Uselessness of Fear” and in it talked about the incredible level of anxiety in a person that would cause their capillaries to burst, thereby “sweating blood.” Jesus endured more anxiety than I have ever, ever dealt with, and therefore is truly my High Priest who is able to sympathize with all my weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:15)
So, in the spirit of this post, I offer you Mandisa's song “Stronger.” Click on it, crank it up, and remember that He knows what we're going through!