This past year has been very difficult. Without going into too many personal details, the only way I can describe the pain is with an image of an onion. It’s not just the layer of my brother’s death to be dealt with, there’s a layer of surviving after a loss by suicide, a layer of trying to find peace with images forever seared in my mind, words spoken; words left unsaid, another private layer which I am unable to share except that it involves a cosmic battle between Light versus Dark, a layer of finding forgiveness, and a layer of helplessness and feeling out-of-control. It’s layer after layer after layer of pain. And I know that there are many of you out there that have your own onion. I want you to know you are not alone.
Today I am talking about the layer of helplessness and lack of control, the personal layer with the battle between Light versus Dark.
Yesterday, my Dad suffered a mild heart attack. I felt this weight on my shoulders, a weight that I know is of my own making; yet nonetheless, it is there. As parents age, being the oldest child makes you feel like you are the one most responsible (even when blessed with two sisters not only ready but willing to share in this load). But I wasn’t born into this role. It landed in my lap about a year ago and I am wearing shoes that I am not able to fill. All I wanted to do, was to call my big brother, the one who always had my back, the one I have always depended on since birth. But his number now belongs to another…
What’s worse is that with this weight comes the desire to “do something”. I am a doer; I like to make people “punkie winkie pies“, bring them dinner, watch their kids…. Being unable to “do something” makes me feel helpless. But sometimes “doing something” is simply waiting; waiting on God, giving Him the control and letting Him lead.
“When we learn to wait for our Lord’s leading in everything, we shall know the strength that finds its climax in an even, steady walk. Many of us are lacking the strength we so covet. But God gives full power for every task He appoints. Waiting, holding oneself true to His lead – this is the secret of strength.” Streams in the Desert, p. 240.
But this isn’t a helpless, idle waiting. There is power in the waiting when you are following God’s leading. This can still be a time when you are able to fight. My strength in waiting is using the weapon of prayer. This is not a prayer to be prayed kneeling down with hands folded, heads bowed, eyes closed. This is a prayer that involves fighting, it is a quiet fight.
In the past, I could be heard saying, “I guess all I can do is pray”. But I have changed. I now say, “The most powerful thing I can do, we can do is to pray“. There is power in prayer; there is power in HIS name.
There is a battle going on around me; I can see it, I can feel it. This is a battle between good and evil; light “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12. I feel helpless and out of control; I can’t fight this fight. I am weak. I am tired. I am powerless. But I am not helpless because I am hope-full. I am hope-full because I serve a risen Savior; one who “stands by me and gives me strength” 2 Timothy 4:17. With Him by my side I am made strong. I am made tireless. I am power-full. With Christ standing beside me my helplessness becomes hope-fullness. He fills me with all I am lacking. I can fight in the darkness of the night when I lay in my bed, looking up through the ceiling up to heaven; I can fight as I stand at my sink, my hands in warm soapy water; I can fight as I sit quietly with hands open on my lap (thank you Ann Voskamp), releasing my control, releasing my helplessness to a BIG and STRONG and ALL POWER-FULL God.
When I pray, God fights for me. “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” Exodus 14:14. He not only fights against the darkness that is around us, but He also fights against the darkness within us; the fear, the loneliness, the lack of self-worth , whatever lies that Satan is telling us. He will fight the helplessness we feel in “only praying”, He will fight the urge we feel in wanting to run ahead of His will, He will fight the need for control and give us peace.
I am not helpless. because I am not hopeless; I am a daughter of a King. I can talk to my Father and He will listen to me. I can cry to my Father and He will hold me. I can pray to my Father and He will fight with me, for me.
And He is your Father as well. Wait on Him, wait in Him. There is strength in this waiting and this strength is found in prayer.