Emboldened by my confession of fearing the dark, I’m here to make another one:
I really want to finish well-and I’m afraid I might not.
Foolishly perhaps, I had imagined the years on the other side of the Great Divide of fifty to be ones in which I could coast a bit. As one sweet lady I knew used to say, “It’s great to be over the hill-that means it’s all downhill from here!”
And in some ways I am coasting.
I no longer struggle with the angst of being comfortable in my own skin. Since I’m not in the market for cosmetic surgery I have made peace with the fact this body is the only one I’ll have (until that wonderful day when I get my glorified body!).
I’ve decided that as long as I am kind about it, I am entitled to express my own opinion, even if I’m the only one who holds it. I don’t have to receive affirmation for my convictions to be true.
Doing the regular chores of life come naturally and I can accomplish them without toddlers or teenagers undoing my work in one room while I’m making progress in another.
But on the spiritual front…well, that’s another matter entirely.
Losing a child has forced me to re-engage questions I thought I had settled long ago. It has made me less certain of some ideas I once held tightly with both hands.
And it has made plain that these last years are going to be just as hard as the early ones in which I dug deep in Scripture to sort through what I had heard or been taught and compare it with what the Word actually says.
I am learning that God is not as easy to comprehend as our Sunday School tag lines make Him seem. I am coming to understand what Job declared:
“I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, But now my [spiritual] eye sees You.”
Job 42: 5 AMP
Knowing now, by experience, that the road ahead may be just as hard and just as bloody as the one I leave behind, it would be easy to give up.
In my family, quitting was never an option. My dad used to say, “You can do anything you want to do if you want to do it badly enough.”
But in this battle to keep going, I am too weak to continue by myself-too beaten down to make it to the finish line in my own strength.
I want to be faithful until the end.
I am purposing to refuse simple explanations and easy answers that tickle my ears but may not reflect truth. And I will admit that I often just don’t understand–that I am wholly dependent on the God Who made me to keep me.
I want to let God mold me and shape me until I am a prize He is pleased with.
I want to present Him to others as the One Who has upheld me and keeps upholding me, even in this struggle to finish well.
So I go directly to Him. I go straight to His Word. I will lean on, rely in and place my full trust in Jehovah:
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.
You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.
Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
Job 42:1-6 MSG