I sit here on a sunny and cold winter afternoon. Fighting a battle I thought I’d won years ago. But here we are again.
Any of you ever heard of it? Felt it? It’s like a vice that squeezes the life, the joy, the peace right out of a person. It’s the voice that whispers-sometimes screams- that there’s no hope. “There’s no fixing. No mending. No healing. No hope.”
It happened a few months ago. The first time in over a year. I felt the tendrils of fear begin to wind themselves around my mind, my heart. I felt my pulse rise, every nerve stood on end, I couldn’t sit still – had an overwhelming need to run. Then it happened again. This thing, this fear. What is it? Where did it come from? And don’t I know better? I do know better – then why is it here? It’s been years. Years ago that I found the secret. Read the secret in a little book by a farmer’s wife that taught me the secret to joy. The secret weapon against fear.
Yet, here I am all over again. And all over again, I just happen to pick up that farmer’s wife’s new book a couple of weeks ago. Make no mistake, there is no coincidence. As shocking and frustrating as it is to me, it wasn’t ever lost on God that I’d be here again. And it was not a surprise to Him that Ann Voskamp would publish another book just right now. The same girl who carries healing and strength and truth into millions of hearts everyday – is the same one who fights a similar foe. Don’t we all really though? This foe may show his face in different ways to different people, but underneath the masks of fear, addiction, self-righteousness, you name it, he’s still the same slimy liar he’s always been.
So I open this new book. And as I slowly plow through the poeticism, the glory of communion, the embracing of brokenness, I begin to hear it. It’s not the wave of revelation like before. Just a quiet remembrance about the thing that I thought I’d overcome. The habit of soul that I thought I’d kicked is just a piece of the brokenness of my story. I don’t have to succumb to it, but because of it, I can see. God never gives us a trophy for overcoming struggles, but He uses it as a tool to heal the struggling.
So I lean in. I ask God what it is? Because sometimes, God wants us to speak to our mountain – and sometimes, He wants us to speak to the Maker of mountains. So I cry out.
“God, help me. I’m afraid.”
“Why am I back here, Father? Why am I wrestling a long buried foe? Can healing wear off? Can we “unlearn” the truth You have so graciously bestowed?”
And in the moments lately, especially in the wee hours, when fear grips and everyone else sleeps, I hear Him say. “What are you holding on to? Is there anything too big to trust me with? Is there any circumstance that I can’t fix, that I can’t heal, that I can’t restore? Any disease stronger than I Am? Anyone you love more than I do? Trust me? I know. I have a plan and it is for good and not for harm. For a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) I have begun a good work, and I’m always faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6) I see it all, there is nothing hidden from Me. (Hebrews 4:13) Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:7).”
I have seen it before. How am I so forgetful? After all, how am I still so short of faith? After all I’ve seen? I have seen Him soften the hardest heart. Heal the most broken relationships. Reunite the farthest gone marriages. Restore health to the most broken bodies.
So again, I still. At least for now. And I remember who He is. The God who spins galaxies. The One who makes armies out of dry bones. The One who restores my soul. There is nothing too difficult for Him. And I can trust. I can trust that even the most insane or illogical fear that happens to rear it’s ugly head – is simply a lie. Fear is always a lie. Because fear is belief that God is not able.
So I surrender. Remember, that truth that is cracking open even the hardest corners of my heart – the truth that my brokenness…even my fear – is what God plans to use to heal the broken. This backward – no forward – thinking that the very thing that I think is so terrible, may just be the very thing that God intends to heal someone else. And I know that even though the tendrils of anxiety may wind around my heart again, I know that He is trustworthy. His ways are higher. Surrender isn’t saying, “ok God, here, I’ll let you fix it”. Surrender is saying “God, it’s yours, do with it what you will.” Even if that means leaving it broken. And somehow – in the long run – it usually turns out even better than we hoped.
Do you find yourself in need of a reminder of God’s “bigness”? He knows, He sees, and nothing is too difficult for Him. Trust – His way is better. Always. Behold Him and be still.