Sometimes cheerleaders need a cheerleader themselves. Sometimes those who are often strong need someone strong. Sometimes those with deep convictions need reassurance. Even those with strong faith face times when it’s harder to believe, or at least harder to stand up tall and declare with confidence that God is at work. Getting through life sometimes feels like I’m a scrawny rookie football player trying to make it past a line of huge linesmen pumped up on adrenaline and ready to take me down. As I run I get bumped from side to side, tripped, flipped over, even knocked flat once in a while. When that happens there are times I jump up, impassioned, fueled and motivated to run even harder. Then there are times when I just lay there looking up at the sky.
I was looking up at the sky today. I don’t think that it means my faith is weak if at times it needs a little help. I don’t have to feel guilty when I need to pause a moment, laying still, catching my breath.
This year, more than ever, God’s been showing me that everyone – EVERYONE – faces hard stuff. That’s just life. Everyone has their own struggle, their own battle, their tough hill to climb. In a way that’s comforting. At least it’s not because John and I need extra discipline or something, or that we’re on some special extra-difficulty plan in God’s book. My friend Suze and her family are climbing a biggie right now. She just had surgery to remove a tumor from her pancreas and for the time being is recovering and dealing with a lot of pain. She has three delightful teenage kids and a loving, devoted husband who are weary from concern, sleeping in hospital waiting rooms and also trying to keep doing regular life. I was reading their blog today and so blessed to read all the ways God showed them He was with them the day of Suze’s surgery. As I read it, it was as if I took in a deep breath and sat up a little bit. God is at work – look! He’s doing stuff on behalf of my friends and their family. He’s real. He’s good.
I talked to my mom on the phone today, too. She told me some ways God’s been preparing the way for them to move to Arizona soon, timing, housing, plans and all fitting together nicely in perfect timing. God’s at work in my parents’ life, too, as He’s always been.
Even John the Baptist had a time when he found himself laying flat on his back, having been knocked flat so to speak. He was the one who declared with passion that the Messiah would come and then identified Jesus with rock solid certainty, telling people “There He is, the Lamb of God! The one who delivers us from our sins!” While Jesus’ ministry was well underway, John was imprisoned for speaking out against some immoral behavior of the king. Although what he said was true, the king was embarrassed and enraged and threw John in jail. In that dank, dismal place, John’s faith began to wane from the fatigue. He even sent some of his followers to ask Jesus for sure if He really was the Messiah. This from the man who shouted Jesus’ identity to hundreds just months before!
If someone like him had questions or needed reassurance, it’s okay if I do sometimes, too. I think when Jesus heard the question brought by John’s friends his heart was moved with compassion. He answered, “Tell John what you have seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the good news is preached to the poor.” (Luke 7:18-23) He called John’s attention to the things he could see happening in other people’s lives as proof that He was at work, that He was the Messiah, He was God.
If God’s doing something for you, if you’ve seen evidence of Him orchestrating events, people, places and timing in your life, tell someone. It will be the hand up they need, the arm around their back to encourage them as they get off the ground and start walking again.