This past month or so it has been creeping up on me–anxiety, worry, despair, fear and their ever present companion–depression.
I have weathered a lot of changes in the past year or so, none of them welcome. But there has been grace in the turmoil, and I have been given a wonderful opportunity to rest and heal and figure out what God is calling me to next. Well, I have rested and healed, but I have no clue where or what or how God is calling. And that is disturbing, because I know that in the new year I will again face changes….
so I have been praying and worrying and laying awake nights trying to figure out what to do. In that process I have been shutting down, not sharing, and keeping it all in. And that has been blinking a huge welcome sign to the companions that are offering to join me on the journey. But I don’t want them. I want faith.
Today I was reading in Exodus about the journey of the people of Israel and how they are brought by God to the place by the water, but then they take their eyes off of God and see the pursuing Egyptian army. Their response is fear. It struck me that we have a choice in how we respond… with fear or with faith. For me fear makes me crawl inside myself; but faith compels me to share the burden.
That’s what happened to me yesterday. It began in the morning as I read in Exodus 13 about the start of the journey that the people of Israel were about to take. It struck me that for every step of the way God was with them.
The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. Exodus 13: 21-22
At no time were they alone. God was with them, morning, noon, night. Everywhere they were going, God was with them, in fact a little bit ahead of them clearing the way. They didn’t know where they were going, their job was to just follow the pillar of cloud and fire and to trust that God was leading them in the right way.
My problem is that I want to know. Actually more than that, I want to control. I don’t think that I like living on the edge like this… and yet, yesterday I was reminded that I am not living here alone. God is with me. Better than that, God is just a little bit ahead of me, preparing the path, clearing the way.
That became clearer in the afternoon, as in caring and sharing time with my covenant group I shared what I am praying for, worrying about and losing sleep over. Almost immediately there was a solution to one problem that I thought was insurmountable. What a gift. What joy to know that God was working it all out. And why wouldn’t he be. Not so long ago he worked out another insurmountable obstacle and gave me a place to live…so of course God will work out the arrangements for the next few months, years, and decades of my life. I can stop worrying, and more importantly I know that when I start trusting and having faith and sharing with those whom God has given me that I will gain a whole new perspective.
Faith begins with the gift from God, but it often comes displayed in human packages.