My hand is ‘out of joint’ this morning; I woke up during the night, and something had shifted. Painfully. Thankfully, things are moving better as I go about my morning. My heart is out of joint, too, with the pain of a friend newly diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, old friends painfully grappling with estrangement, a third friend and her family already too many days at Children’s Hospital. My heart and mind keep cautiously approaching these explosive facts, trying to figure out what to do, to help or to understand; wondering when quiet, versus questions is the kindest, least intrusive form of care. Then wondering if intrusion is what the moment needs. Doubting that sequestration in a prayer closet is the answer, but having NO CLUE how to proceed. If I feel vulnerable and at a loss…how do they feel??????
For my friend with cancer, I feel angry and afraid. Very afraid. There are too many pieces of life attached to her, for me to calmly ‘let go’ and trust.
For my friends who are parting, there is so.much.sorrow
For my friends in hospital – there are weeks of wearying work ahead to facilitate recovery.
You likely have loved ones to add to the list.
I feel vulnerable in relationship to all of them – (how am I ever going to help?) I FEAR that I, their sister, their friend, will surely fail them in these moments.
I feel vulnerable for them – these strong , amazing advocates for others, who will now have to ask for themselves. I have lost.. it is not a journey one enters lightly. I have held the stone of sorrow…I have wearied my brain and bones in caregiving work. Perhaps this is why I feel vulnerable FOR them, this glimpse of what lies ahead. None of them are strangers to the journey either. Truthfully, I would not trade those journeys – the intertwine of beauty with ashes – the tracing of one’s hands across the face of God in the heart of Christ, along this journey we call life. But I have not walked their sorrows, and I do not envy them the walking it now.
Vulnerability History helps. I remember a time, when I was invited to flat-out worship God, but found myself in a position of vulnerability. As if on cue, the words flowed, telling God all the ways in which I felt vulnerable, all the fears and questions for which I had no practical answers. I had been circling the problems, puzzling them from different perspectives, rather than bringing them to a Holy God. The God of the Storehouse found in Job 38: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?… Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the evil out of it?” There it is. Job, with a season full of woes, and God reminding him that nothing is beyond his reach; the whole passage a call to worship. Three chapters worth.
Job responds, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” And, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42;2,5
Finally, I know what to do. God of the Storehouse, we stand amazed that you have every resource at your disposal. Bring them to bear, we humbly pray, on this array of needs. Help us to trust not only in your power, but in the goodness of your grace. We worship your goodness, Oh God.
It is not ours to judge one another, but where we need to shift, to repent and change, please show us the way. Help us to RUN in that new-found freedom. We worship your goodness , Oh God.
HELP US TO SEE YOU, over and over as we go about our days. And in seeing, to worship you truthfully; not as we expect you to be, but as you are in power and majesty, in righteousness and glory. May your glory fill the whole earth, as you shake the evil from its dust. No plan of yours can be thwarted. We worship your goodness, OH God.
On Easter Sunday, we spotted the first trilliums in the woods. They remind me again, of the triune completeness of our God; the Father to give us life, his Son to teach and save us, the Holy Spirit to lead and empower, the living of our own resurrected life. He is complete. And in Him, we find the help we need.
1) Quotes from Job Cpts. 38-42. NIV The Holy Bible. Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI 1983