I write about these people sometimes in veiled references to their situations, because although they affect my heart they are not my stories to tell. Suffice it to say I am well-aware of the hurt and pain people are walking through: a teenager 'coming out' in high school, repeated infidelities discovered, mental illness coming to light, terminal cancer eating away at young bodies, being a widow before you are a mother, financial ruin...I am praying for people I care about walking through all of these things right now. And as much as I wish those prayers were magic wands, there are not quick and easy fixes to these situations. Hearts still ache. People still disappoint me in hurtful ways. Circumstances are still overwhelming. Life on Earth is hard.
I actually realized Thursday that when people asked how 'I' was, it had become so inextricably wrapped up in these burdens of others I was bearing that I couldn't answer for myself without thinking of them. While that might sound big-hearted of me, it was making me bitter. I was feeling emotionally (and relationally) unhealthy.
I have not felt angry at God...just sad, small and confused...almost resigned to the fact that getting older means knowing more of these stories and becoming less idealistic. Last week, when my Bible Study girls from the group home asked me why a loving God would let them have this life (of abuse, neglect, abandonment) or when my son asked why a good God would allow tornadoes to strike people I was able to give a theologically faithful answer but my heart just felt heavy with the reality that life is difficult.
I think this is why it was so refreshing to hear this weekend's camp speaker (David Haskins from Young Life Chattanooga) speak directly to the challenges of this life. "It can be like trying to wade through molasses." His authenticity spoke straight to my weary heart and left me wide open for a simple statement he made on his way to another key point: the moon is round.
As David spoke about the accepted truth that the moon is always round regardless of what shape it appears each night here on Earth, his metaphor for our changing perspective on an unchanging God was clear. I vaguely remembered the story my old friend Allen Levi tells as he explains a song he wrote by the same title. When I got home tonight and tracked it down on his website it spoke to me all over again:
"..every night this past week, as I have watched the moon diminish and disappear, I have known at all times that (1) the moon is up there, and (2) the moon is round. At the darkest moment of stormy night, I always knew it was there.
God seems like the moon at times, one day being clearly seen and the next nowhere in sight. For every major character in scripture, including Jesus, there were times that God seemed covered in darkness.
There are periods in my life, probably yours too, where the Lord’s presence is warm, soft, bright, recognizable all around me. And yet, at other times, He, and His ways, can be indistinct, hidden, distant, even frightening.
What do we hold onto at during hard times. For me, it’s always ‘the truth as it is in Jesus.’ It’s always and only the cross. Every trip there is reminder enough that (1) He is up there and (2) He is good."
My hope is not built on what other people do or do not do.
My hope is not based on the temporary circumstances I am facing.
My hope is not dependent on emotions that can be swayed inexplicably.
My hope is built on faith in my Father. He is the great I AM. Regardless of our perspective in any given season/day/hour, the moon is round and God is worthy to be followed whole heartedly.