I have said the phrase, “I don’t know where to look anymore” so many times over the last few weeks. Disaster is everywhere you turn. I don’t need to spend the time writing out a list or explaining to you what I mean by that, as that would take the whole post and you know what I’m talking about anyway. It’s chaos wherever you turn, where are we even supposed to look?
Finding a place of reprieve or peace has been the biggest challenge as of late. Again, you know what I’m talking about. All of our healthy options of a reprieve from life have been ‘taken away’ from us. I said to a fellow Al-Anon member last night that I’ve returned to Al-Anon because I can’t go to church and I need the community of others right now. Al-Anon is a great place to get a load off or hear of where others are at, exchanging empathy, but it is not a place to be spiritually filled, and I feel so empty.
I’ll be the first to admit that I can be consumed by the world and what goes on in it. I’ll be the first to admit that I let fear cloud my vision and I start to succumb to the slavery fear offers. I don’t know where to look anymore. In 2014 when I was in Venice, Italy, I toured The Doges Palace. There is a famous bridge there known as The Bridge of Sighs. This bridge connects the courtrooms of The Doges Palace to that of the jail on the other side of the canal. Once a person was convicted they would move directly from the courtrooms in The Doges Palace, across The Bridge of Sighs and into the prisons. On this bridge is a tiny window with a view of a small island off Venice. It is known as The Bridge of Sighs because as prisoners would look out this window at their last view of the world they would let out a deep sigh. Once in the prison the only view of the outside world is in a small courtyard. This courtyard is square maybe 50 feet wide, with a small well in it. The courtyard has high walls and contains the only view of the free world the prisoners will ever see again, a view of just the sky above and the only option is to look up.
The Lauren Daigle song, “Look Up Child” comes to mind.
“Where are You now
When darkness seems to win?
Where are You now
When the world is crumbling?
Oh I hear You say
I hear You say
Look up child“
Rhett asked me quite a few months back what I thought ‘all this’ was about. Why was there so much going on all at the same time; numerous natural disasters, locust plages (look it up, it’s a thing), exposing of corruption, civil unrest, UFO sightings being released by government, the pandemic, keep naming things, I’m sure I’m missing something.
I said that I felt like God was lifting his hand.
God holds this whole world together, every bit of it. If you take a glance back through your life when was the last time you needed God, like really needed him? It’s nice to have him around, but when was the last time you cried out for him in desperation? When was the last time you needed him to save you, that you needed his mercy? Maybe once? Maybe never? I said to Rhett that I felt God had grown impatient with us, that he is reaching his limitations. I said I feel God is lifting his hand from the earth, from keeping it all together, and the world is falling into chaos without the hand of God resting on it. He is lifting his hand and revealing our need for him to keep it all together, to keep ourselves together.
He has grown impatient with us.
We forget that God is also righteous, that he is still offended by our sin. We forget the God of the Old Testament and that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Through the cross God has offered us mercy and grace for our sins, direct access to God for redemption, but he is still offended by our sin and we still need to approach him to receive his grace. God is growing tired of waiting for us to choose him, to choose his grace and his mercy.
He is forcing us to look up.
He is revealing to us that we have been prisoners of our own brokenness, of our own actions, of our own beliefs and our own narratives. He is lifting his hand and allowing us to be tested, to show us where we are weak. He is allowing our narratives, our brokenness and our sins to be exposed to great levels to show us where we are in need of him. It is his grace that is doing this. I might have just lost you there and maybe you no longer agree with me, but let me explain. It is the grace of God that he has given us any time at all to choose mercy, to choose his grace and restoration. It is his love that has allowed the brokenness of the world to continue as long as it has, becuase it has given us more time to choose him, to choose his mercy. For God to lift his hand only slightly to reveal our areas of weakness is love, because it is revealing to us where we need him and he is giving us time to choose him, to exchange our weaknesses for his strength, to repent of our sin and receive forgiveness.
There will come a day, and I don’t know when that is, when the option to choose the grace of God will end. A time when God will choose the throne of judgement over the throne of grace. It is an act of love that God is showing us where we still need his grace, and an act of love that God is allowing for more time to choose his forgiveness.
I have been learning to spend some time each day looking up, because every view around me is all consuming. I don’t think it’s coincidence that I keep on saying, “I don’t know where to look anymore” because the reality of it is I do know where to look and I know better than to listen to the fearful and destructive voices of the world.
We know better.
This is a post that has been ruminating in me for a while, but it wasn’t until I saw this testimony (posted below) that I felt like it came together, the missing pieces of what I was trying to say came together.