“Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need.”
-Though you Slay Me,
Shane and Shane
Recently I ran across this song about losing it all and still choosing to praise the Lord. It got me thinking…when I’m at my most broken what is my response?
Do I scream out in anger? Yell at God for another sleepless night, haunted by dreams I can’t control? Try to mask the pain, with more pain?
If God loves me, if I am His, then how could He let me hurt like this? How can He watch my heart break into a thousand different pieces…questioning the wisdom in every decision I’ve ever made leading up to this day… and not rescue me?
Well, I don’t know how perfect you are but I scream loudly, usually not polite things at the One who gave me breath. I’m not sure I’ve always been this way, but I am right now…
What brings you to the valley? Is it looking around at whatever age you are now and realizing life isn’t how you thought it would be, a lost loved one, a broken relationship, an illness that can’t be cured?
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
That verse is nice, but I immediately think… if He REALLY loved me… He would fix this.
You’ve thought it too, I know you have. That the Almighty should just “fix it.” It’s the selfishness engrained in us that we should never feel pain. What an ignorant thought, that this life is designed around our happiness. That’s a manmade concept…that’s why it so often fails, and shifts, and doesn’t meet our expectations.
I hate the fire and refinement just as much as the next person, but it is surely inevitable, and I would be lying if I told you I handled it with grace especially when it was my own sin that led me here.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Paul and Silas sang hymns to God locked in a prison cell for crimes they didn’t commit. God allowed Job to be stripped of everything he loved in this word, and the man still refused to denounce his Creator. John the Baptist was a martyr for the faith before even being able to see Christ’s full ministry, yet he never once gave up his mission.
Jesus, was bruised, beaten, spit on, and crucified…but he never ran from the call the Father had on his life. And thank God he didn’t.
And these people weren’t even suffering because they had done something wrong, or made a bad choice, they were walking through the valley simply because they were following in faith.
Yet, here I am, a woman who has had minor struggles, comparatively, mostly caused by my own inability to obey, and I still can’t hold back tears of anger towards Him when I’m hurting. I desperately want to be the type of woman who sings songs of praise when her life is crumbling apart.
But I’m not, yet.
There’s a beauty to being in the depths of despair. You’re faced with the chance to make a choice.
You can bottle up this pain, put it on a shelf with all of your childhood bullies, broken relationships, deep insecurities, and fears of the future. Close the cellar door and pretend you’re doing just fine. Fill those holes of hurt with hobbies, new friends, addictions, pets, and fitness routines…
You can lay there broken, feeling abandoned, desperate for healing, humiliated, and wait….You wait for God to help you. You just throw your arms up to the ceiling, turn the music up loud, beg for something real, raw, painfully honest and you just lay it down.
Over, and over and over again. Day after day after day. You just tell Him… and you believe that He will move.
The first option, will feel like you’re fixed. It will feel like you’re better. Everyone around you will applaud you on how sane you seem, and how well you’re doing. But I promise you’re not. And when life knocks you down again, a month, a year, 10 years down the road… you will crumble again. And your heartbreak will rattle those bottles you’ve left stored in the cellar of your soul.
The second option, it doesn’t come natural. I don’t care if you’ve been saved since you were six, or just met Jesus yesterday… giving up control never comes easy for a species that so desperately craves it. You will feel like everyone is watching you, pointing at the girl crying as she drives to work.
You’re friends will send you bible verses and ask if you’re okay in 24 hour intervals, because on the outside you just look so unstable. But darling, God’s doing something inside you. In the darkest parts of your heart that you thought you could hide from Him. He’s there and he’s going to rebuild.
If you trust Him, He will be faithful. I can’t promise when, or how, but I know that He will. I know, because in the middle of one of the saddest times in my very young life I can hear him.
I hear His voice even as the devil whispers to me lies that keep me Sad. Stagnant. Sinful.
“The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.”
One day my sorrow will be singing. My anger will be forgiveness. My pain will be strength. I just want to be ready for the next valley. More ready than I was for this one.