Can I be perfectly and totally honest with you?
My heart is heavy. Troubled. Burdened. I’ve been biting the inside of my cheek a lot the last few days (one of my don’t-cry coping skills).
Oh. I’m fine. The kids are great. Marriage is beautiful. Bills are paid. My life is happy. Don’t worry about me.
But a whole lot of people I love are going through…
A friend living in the Philippines is safe. But thousands around her are not. A country already struggling with poverty has hardship piled on top of it.
People I love having family problems. Health issues. Rifts in marriages.
Most of all (for me, at least), watching a young lady falling into dangerous, terrifying traps. I’ve watched her grow up for the last ten years. Her life has been tough. Decisions others have made hurt her. Now she’s hurting herself. And she’s fighting off just about everyone who wants to help her.
Heavy situations. Troubled heart.
When I got up this morning I prayed. I didn’t have any words to say, really. But that didn’t seem to matter. Prayer is a weird thing that I will never understand. And I think that’s okay. But, in that wordless prayer, I let my emotions surge through me.
“Do not let your heart be troubled.” The words came to me like a song. One I sang in church choir so long ago. “Do not let your heart be troubled.”
Yeah. Like that’s easy.
“Believe in God. Believe in Me (Jesus).”
I’m trying. I’ve been trying all my life to believe. To have faith. To know that what Jesus says is true. But somedays it is hard.
And if I’m honest with you, sometimes I get angry. I doubt the goodness of God.
When the “it’s a fallen world and we are fallen people and sin happens and bad things happen and we’ll understand later, but God won’t give you more than you can handle (which isn’t Biblical, by the way)” talk comes around, sometimes, in my mind, I say “Yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Easy to say.” And I feel like my attitude is stinky.
I feel like a bad Christian.
I mean, I write novels about people who are redeemed. Who live on a diet of hope and mercy. Who have these groundbreaking moments of KNOWING God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
What is wrong with me?
But the words keep coming. “Don’t be troubled. Believe in Me.”
And as hard as that is, it is all I can do. Seriously.
I can’t stop typhoons. I can’t send the millions of dollars to fix houses and schools and provide food to the beautiful people in the Philippines**. I can’t magically make my friends’ family problems better. I can’t.
And I can’t force this young lady to stop what she’s doing. I can’t scoop her up, make her know that she’s loved, heal that pain that is so deep inside her.
But I can believe. As much strength as that takes. And in that struggling belief, I pray without words and try to listen. And let myself feel some kind of peace that is so beyond my understanding that I’ll never be able to explain it.
Because He’s done it before.
By the way, sometimes wise people post beautiful words that help in my moments of doubt and strain. One of those wise people did so this morning. His name is John Blase and he’s a poet and gentleman cowboy. I’m sure he’d say he’s not so wise. But he is. You can read his poem here.
**I may not be able to send a million dollars, but I can send some. And if you’d like to send some money to aid in the Philippine relief efforts, here’s a link to the Philippine Red Cross. Click HERE.