This is a bit weird…no adjective adequately covers this one.
I want to (not really) share with you a strange journey I had the last few days. It was a dark, lonely, shocking journey, unexpected and sudden. I had just left a work Christmas party that was, by all accounts, lovely. I’m blessed to work in an organization that’s purpose is to share the Good News that Jesus came as a baby to save us all. So, we naturally, joyfully and openly celebrate the King’s birth. I had a great time, with good food, games, gifts and music.
Yet, something happened as I left the party to return to my family. I’m not sure that I understand it. And, I don’t quite know how to explain it. An unseen fog settled over me like the wettest of blankets. I suddenly saw with eyes that hadn’t known hope in many years. There was no visible or knowable cause. It was real. Sarah noticed it almost instantly as I walked in the door. “What happened?” she wondered. Reeling inside, not really knowing how to answer I said, “Nothing, I’m just tired. It’s been a long year.” This was the best I could do. Although, I knew as I said it, it wasn’t very true. I like honesty. I prefer it. I couldn’t find it.
Chalking it up to mental fatigue, knowing that with tiredness often comes a tongue that can shred anyone, I warned that I needed a bit of downtime for at least the evening. Sarah seemed to understand and did her best to leave me alone. Let me say it wasn’t a fair request after being gone all day till the evening – a good part of it having fun, no less. She’s an awesome wife and caught on perfectly.
The next few days the fog, thick as mud, consumed me. I still went about my business being productive as possible. Yet, the reality is that if there is no perceivable joy, productivity is nearly always negated. But, I plodded on. Where had the joy gone? Logically, I knew that emotions are like Wisconsin weather – just wait a few minutes or hours at most and it may be a completely new situation. But it didn’t quickly subside.
This fog, had more power than one would think. I questioned everything during this quiet, subtle herculean storm. I questioned my faith, my worth, my purpose. All the failures of the past came like a train, relentlessly. They erased grace, victories and with it joy, virtually completely. News headlines were merely confirmation that it doesn’t really matter what you do. The look in the kids’ eyes when I didn’t meet their expectations gave me reason to believe it wasn’t worth trying to be a good Dad. I must say, that these were things going on internally, but externally I was still playing the part. Oh, but internally, I was gone. I was without strength, without perseverance and felt….without a Savior.
**None of this being remotely true – perception feigns reality with great deception.**
You know the guy in “Saving Private Ryan”, the writer, Cpl. Upham who was forced to be a soldier? You know the scene where he cowers, loaded gun in hand, in the stairwell while his fellow soldier is stabbed? He had all the power, ability and training to solve that situation and save his friend’s life. Yet, he acted as if powerless. I detest this character. For three days, this is who I became.
Why? I still don’t have any rationale for this. All that I know is that it was sure, intimidating and now gone. This morning, all this was replaced by the sureness of knowing the Saving King, personally. It was replaced by peace that only comes from the all-powerful God. The world is still a mess, but there is an order that will certainly come. There is hope that really never left. In my eyes today, the Scriptures once again bear life and freedom and rescue. Rebirth, restoration; they are coming like the wind to all who receive openly – yet they will come with lighting and thunder to announce their arrival. A King is returning whose robe creates a draft that is life-giving, whose steps eliminate the wicked – the Royal One is coming. He will end doubt, death, drought, injustice, greed and sickness forever. He will reward the faithful and punish the wicked. His appearance will set all things right. We can wait knowing the victory has already been assured. All these things are clear once again. They have never ceased to be true.
What happened the last three days? Was it depression? Deception? I still don’t know what it was or what its purpose was. I can say it was scary. The depth that it reached and the swiftness that it appeared unnerve me still. My core was shaken from something unseen, unknown. The result is that I know even more so that I securely belong to the King. He didn’t let me go. He carried me through something that was much bigger and more powerful than me. I can’t say it was spiritual, emotional or anything else. I can say the His words are true and unfailing. I know this more today than I ever have.
Note: I felt compelled to share this with you today. I didn’t really want to. But, as I said before, I value honesty. Our family’s blog has been built on the premise that we share honestly the good and bad of our journey. If I shared with you anything else, it wouldn’t be truth. I’m not particularly proud or happy to share this. But, if nothing else, my words and life need to be open to bringing glory to God – even through humiliation, failure and periods of uncertainty.
Will you praise Him today because He never fails, His love endures and His grace covers us completely?