This is why I wait upon you, expecting your breakthrough, for your word brings me hope. I long for you more than any watchman would long for the morning light. I will watch and wait for you, O God, throughout the night. Psalm 130: 5-6 TPT
C. S. Lewis wrote, “The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just that time when God can’t give it: you are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.”
I wonder if that is what the psalmist was feeling, when he wrote, “I long for You more than any watchman would long for the morning light…”
(I know a little about that longing.)
It is often referred to as, “the dark night of the soul.”
To walk through that kind of night, changes you–sometimes for the better; sometimes, not.
Those nights are transformational.
And while most times, we don’t get to choose the circumstances, I believe we do get to choose the depth to our own transformation.
Grief and unanswered questions
I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but I do believe that every Christian, will face their own Gethsemane.
It is an essential part of becoming like Jesus.
Unwelcome to be sure, but nevertheless, essential.
In, A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis wrote, “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”
The thorn against my heart
Walking through a crisis that drags on, and on, will mess with your pat answers and easy theology.
So, too, will grief.
Sorrow that does not cease; accompanied with unrelenting and unanswered questions?
She, will teach you like nothing else I know!
Years of prayers, with questions that remain unanswered, will press against your heart–especially throughout long and sleepless nights.
Lewis said, “Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.”
My heart’s only consolation
The only consolation I have found in my own Gethsemane, and walking through fifty years with a thorn pressed against my heart–is surrender.
(It’s taken me a while to get there.)
You see, I have discovered that not all grief ends.
I now know, there are losses in this life that you may carry for the rest of your days.
Nevertheless, His grace is sufficient [2 Cor. 12: 7-10] because I have also learned, that my surrender and trust will bring me the peace I long for.
As I have surrendered my unanswered questions, and submitted to the thorn God has chosen to not remove?
His peace has made a home and quiet resting place in my heart.
It rests in this unshakable truth:
That Jesus, who was crowned with thorns, and went through Gethsemane Himself; embraced all the horror of that Roman cross, for me.
He CHOSE both, so that I would be set free.
Perhaps, it was this trust Lewis was speaking of when he wrote,
“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”
When I look at Jesus…
When I see Him, kneeling in the mud and blood of Gethsemane, sweating great drops of blood, and hear His cry from the cross, “It is finished!”
I find my questions are hushed and my heart finds rest.
Now, I wait for heaven realized, because I know a day awaits me there, when all sorrow and mourning shall be done away with forever.
No more tears; no more sighing.
Then, I will know–just as I am known.
Gifts of knowledge and prophecy are partial at best, at least for now, but when the perfection and fullness of God’s kingdom arrive, all the parts will end. When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind. For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God. But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13: 9-13 The Voice
“This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.” C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed