To Those Who Are Struggling

Today has felt neither like a victorious or a hopeful day.

It’s been a day in which good people I care about are struggling and hurting, in a month in which good people I care about are struggling and hurting.  It’s one of those times when it seems like the bad news just keeps coming.  I’ll  admit that because of that, I don’t feel like sitting down at the computer and writing anything at all.  And yet I absolutely must write – because what Christian would I be if I only speak about my faith in the easy times?

A verse has been haunting my Bible study for two weeks now, perhaps in preparation for today: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).

What an audacious, bold verse. This Psalm isn’t a conviction that we’ll see God’s goodness after we die, or when everything is said and done and all accounts are settled.  This isn’t a glance at the distant horizon or a shrug of the shoulders. This Psalmist’s faith in God is such that he attaches a time limit to it; he expects not only to see God’s goodness, but to see God’s goodness before he dies.  “Wait for the Lord,” the succeeding verse implores.  “Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Because – and this is hard to remember in trying times – the Lord is not slow as some count slowness.

On the frustrating day, on the dark day, on the hopeless day, our prayers and our faith – tarnished and stumbling and broken as they are – shine brighter.  And what matters the most is not if they are strong, and not if they are hopeful, and not if they are packed with praise, but that they are there at all.  God sees them.  Because the most audacious act is to go on having reckless faith when nothing makes sense and everything is awful.

God loves audacity.  He loves reckless, defiant, sense-shattering faith.  He welcomed Jacob to wrestle with Him.  He was willing to respond personally to Job’s helpless cries to the heavens.  Jesus Himself commended the desperate woman who reached out in faith to touch the hem of His robe.

It is probably a bad time for you, wherever you are.  Or maybe it’s a bad time for someone close to you.  Maybe you don’t understand the why of anything – or you do understand, and that’s worse. Maybe you’re suffering the results of a tragic bolt from the blue. And maybe you’re angry or in pain or sad and disheartened or just bewildered.

To you I say only: your faith right now in this moment is a precious gift to God.  The fact that it’s there at all, the fact that you summon up the scraps of resolve to say a prayer, to trust a little more, to keep holding on – it’s an honor to Him, and a joy and a delight to Him.  And whoever you are and wherever you are, I will pray that you keep that audacity.  That you grit your teeth and hunker down even in the struggle, and wait on the Lord.  And wait on the Lord.  And wait on the Lord.

Because you will see His goodness in the land of the living.

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