A couple months ago, my eyes read those words then almost began the next sentence; but didn't. After one second of ingesting that statement, I began to sob. But not the kind where you're wailing loudly for the neighbors to hear. It was a silent sob--where you exhale strongly and seem to be caught there for 10 seconds, as the tears flood your eyes. You hyperventilate, choking on air as your chest jolts a few times. tears stream down your face. I continued in this state for a good 5 minutes, intensely whispering, where are you God?? Jesus, I need you! Where are you??
I had been caught in this state of anxiety and depression for a number of days when this happened. When I was not being distracted by time with friends, or some task requiring my full attention, I'm all up in my head, with no way out. I'd try to pray, but nothing comes. just "help" or "Jesus..." I could barely focus long enough to read a daily devotional or a chapter of Matthew. I wanted to write--poetry, blogs, journal--anything--but couldn't. It felt a little bit like this..
Sometimes I would lay in bed at night, restless and unable to sleep, attempting to begin a conversation with the One I used to be so sure of.
So, that said, this silent sob came as a release, a cathartic reaction to the past weeks of my life. Shaun's description of his experience had hit my own directly on the head. I hadn't realized until that moment that when I lay in bed, awake, feebly attempting to pray, that I was really seaching for the God I knew on the other side of the world, but felt was so distant and uninvolved in my present life.I tried earnestly to have coherent thoughts, and form a strain of logic. The only thing that came to mind was a book I recently read by Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts. I quickly retrieved it from my sister's stand where I saw it the previous day, and thumbed through the first chapters until I found it: the verse Ann points to that directs her journey. Psalm 50:23.
I read through Psalm 50.. I had verses 14-15 underlined. "'Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.'"
Then verse 23. "The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!"
It is there-what I've been waiting for. I need to remember that God is with me. He is going to deliver me. But Iwhat I didn't realize is that I also needed to get my eyes off me, in order to offer up thanksgiving. That is my sacrifice. my part.
See, I was searching for God and feeling alone because I was scared. I was frightened by what may happen with my new job. I was terrified that others would see the real me, 'the one who doesn't have what it takes.' I was nervous that I'm going to fail miserably and fall flat on my face, and people will talk. And I don't believe that God is going to help me, namely by preventing this. By keeping me from being put to shame. I always feel like I am going to be exposed and embarrassed. It's just a matter of time. So I lose sight of what and how to pray. I don't know what to ask besides "don't let me fail." hmm..sounds like what King David asked in the psalms a lot--"don't let me be put to shame."I flipped the pages until my eyes found psalm 25, an old familiar passage. It's the one I memorized the summer I worked in inner-city Philly with middle schoolers. I memorized this before my interview, and found great comfort in it.
Verse one: "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame."
So, no matter what the task is before me, no matter what the situation, let my eyes be fixed on God, my salvation. He is right here, beside me. He has never left me. Indeed, I cannot leave him behind on another continent. Though I may feel alone and unable, I am accompanied by the one who is able to do all things. My soul is in his hands alone, who is able to keep me from being put to shame. No one else has power over me, to put me to shame. Even if I fail in this life, He will lift my face again.