Anyone else hate the daunting weight of perseverance? The idea of it is great, but the implementation of it frankly stinks. The embodiment of determination in spite of weariness. Perseverance is making the decision to keep going when all you want to do is quit.
There is something very hard to comprehend when going through enormous trial. We have a God who controls the heat of the sun, the rotation of a galaxy, the formation of atoms…and sometimes He allows us to suffer. The God we love, and that loves us, allows us to sometimes bear the unthinkable…even tragedy. We lose those we love the most. We are many times powerless to end the suffering of the innocent an we deal with illnesses and injury. Our Father in heaven possesses unfathomable power, but sometimes restrains His rescue. Sometimes a dark thought poisons my resolve and gains a foothold. God has the power and might to take this problem 100% away. That sounds very reassuring. Who would have thought that the same sentiment can be said two different ways with two very different sentiments. Now say it again with a small addition. God has the power and might to take this problem 100% away. Why doesn’t He? Oof. Now we are wading into murky Christian territory. I’m gonna say it like it is. It’s frustrating to know that God can do this, but sometimes chooses to stand back. I know that in all His wisdom, there is an all wise and good reason. The ugly reality is that it doesn’t really make the physical pain any easier to bear. No Hallmark greeting card, no inspirational quote, not even any scripture has remedied the actual physical pain one bit. It just must be endured and persevered through.
I sometimes wonder how Jesus could pray to God His Father, and not be like…Whyyyyyyyyy Dad? Why??? My spiritual maturity wants to say, Whyyyyyy Heavenly Father? I know that God is good, faithful, and loving. I know He doesn’t allow suffering out of enjoyment. I know I have to trust Him. I know He sees more than me. I know what I should be leaning on. It’s just that all the knowing, doesn’t mean all the understanding.
1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
On Tuesday last week I found out I’d be having surgery again to remove my cervical fusion hardware. It’s very possibly the culprit for my trouble swallowing and throat pain. I drove home from the appointment along the long highway stretch past my husbands police department jurisdiction. In all my stress, I never would have guessed that just hours later, an officer from my husbands department would be killed instantly as he did a traffic stop along that same stretch of highway.
Days later, the PD held a candlelight vigil for Officer Clayton Townsend. I really cannot tell you the level of gut wrenching that it was, to look into the face of a fellow police wife as she held their beautiful baby…and see such a level of devastation. She will raise her son without his father, and she will face the life ahead without her best friend and husband. I touched her arm and told her I was so terribly sorry, and that she was in our prayers. It know my words don’t even amount to a micro particulate of comfort. There is nothing I or anyone else can do to remove this awful pain. Over the next couple days, my husband and several other officers took a turns guarding the casket of their brother in blue. My husband was the officer in charge of the rifle team. He shouted the orders for the 3 round volley and placed the 3 casings in a meticulously folded flag. A flag that he and his comrades wrapped their heart into as they made each fold. This flag was carried by the chief, and he placed it tenderly into the arms of a brokenhearted 26 year old mother and widow. Officer Townsend was an outstanding man. He was one of the good guys. This week I’m reminded that sometimes a death is senseless and can’t be explained. Sometimes accidents happen and it feels as if evil got in a terrible shot. Officer Townsend’s wife will bear emotional pain that must be endured. She has to persevere one moment at a time. One breath after the other, one step after the other, one day after the other. The only thing that ever truly eases our burden, is the comforting of our spirit in the midst of the pain.
Spiritual pain can be eased by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the abiding comforter that it is. The shadow of the Almighty covers us. It doesn’t sound like this place is without danger. Those verses say that some are falling by the sword, we may still dash our foot against a stone, and plague and pestilence may surround us. It say’s and I quote in verse 15: He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble. IN trouble. He will be with us during times of trouble, danger, pain, suffering. It doesn’t say He will remove the trouble from us, it say’s He will help us through it. He comforts our hearts. He will not suffer the righteous man’s soul to be destroyed when they run under His wings. The long life He gives, will be eternal life. When we run to Him, He holds us under a sacred umbrella of peace that passes understanding. The protection is over our soul.
I think there is a strange peace in a realization that we are just never truly alone when we have the Holy Spirit. Without God there is no hope. He makes all of the things we have to endure on this planet, worth it. We can go through everything completely alone. That is a choice. It’s also a choice to go through all of those things with Him by our side. The same valley must be crossed regardless; but isn’t it better with your best friend by your side? A friend to pour our heart out to. The friend to experience triumphs and heartbreaking loss with. It’s also the one to celebrate the ultimate victory with us when we finally make it out of that valley and into the promised land. His comfort is enough. His grace is sufficient for me. Through this valley I walk, we walk… but in my heart and by my side is my best friend. We will make it through this together.
I love you each. Huge hugs. We will persevere.