Just hanging on!

P1020103Jesus draw me ever nearer as I labour through the storm.                          You have called me to this passage, and I’ll follow, though I’m worn.

(Margaret Becker)

The stormy weather we have experienced in Scotland this week has to an extent mirrored my inner life, a time of weeping and weariness, of uncertainty and fear. Faith in my experience is not some kind of external armour that protects me from these storms, which are part of the human experience and arise from our frail bodies, the darkness which lies in every heart, and the brokenness at the heart of creation.

While I confess to being shaken, to being weary and filled with melancholy, I can also testify to the continual reminders of my heavenly father’s love and provision for me. I have sung songs of praise with tears in my eyes, contemplated beauty and been filled with adoration for the Creator who is endlessly inspired and so generous in sharing his bounty with us. I have been reminded again of the cross, of the empty tomb, and the soul-salving grace which is offered to me in Jesus Christ. I have rested in the truth of God’s firm hold on me, regardless of how feeble I am in my own eyes.

But in the stormy days, these things do not always change my feelings. And this is where faith comes in, where wordless prayer comes in. I do not know how to diagnose my own weaknesses for my heavenly healer – he can see my heart and spirit and knows my need. He takes the merest breath, the wordless longing, and knits it into effective prayer which he already is moving to answer.

What good will it do  me to sit and nurse my melancholy alone? None, and faith tells me to bring it to my beloved Lord, as the only thing I can offer at this time. Time and again, the psalmist comes to worship with words of woe and lament, so surely I may do the same? When I  hold back from sharing the sadness and difficulty of life with my Saviour, what am I saying? Do I think He is not interested in me except when I am happy and content? Perhaps there are people in my life like that, imperfect and frail as we all are, who can’t cope with my moods and lowness of spirit. But the Lord and lover of my soul is perfect, never out of patience, full of grace, and He delights to receive me even when I am more of a wet blanket than a ray of sunshine!!

So whether I feel the benefit of it or not, my safest course in the storms is straight for the arms of Jesus, and every time I feel myself drifting, to turn back and cling on again. In faith, we lean on him, and so through these storms we find that our faith is tested, and strengthened, and in turn we may encourage others to lean and find him trustworthy.

What joy, to know that in the midst of storms, we may find rest here, and that even our very small personal troubles can be something we offer in worship to God. The opening quote this week is from a particularly helpful song which expresses this desire to let every experience of life be used by God to his glory, and I will close with the chorus, which is a beautiful prayer in itself.

May this journey bring a blessing, May I rise on wings of faith;

And at the end of my heart’s testing, with your likeness let me wake.

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