Ups and downs. Highs and lows. So much joy. So much sorrow. I heard a young man speak today about how we were created to experience this type of life. We were created to experience GOD through the highs and lows of life. Through the joys and sorrows. Comfort and pain, gains and losses. This young man spoke about how young people use technology to desperately escape these highs and lows and conversely, long for monotonous, easy, do-able and numb lives. Why? We are lost. We are a lost people; aimlessly wandering in deserts. We have lost sight and touch and smell of our Creator, the Lord, and so of course we are wanderers, but grasping. Who could BARE an ounce of the joy and pain people walk through alone? If you don’t have God, you will find something else…food, alcohol, exercise, sex and yes…technology. This is why I LOVE the Old Testament. Full of men and women who walked the highs and lows of this life…with the Lord.
In the beginning, right away, we have Adam and Eve in the garden, in full fellowship, full bellies, fully known…so high. Moments later fearful and ashamed, they were driven away…an ultimate low. Abraham…waiting on God’s promise for children, has Isaac…then is asked to kill Isaac…then Isaac is rescued, up and down and up. Jacob, is promised Rachel, but given Leah, and then given Rachel. Again, up and down and up. Joseph, adored by his father, hated by his brothers and sold, then is admired by Pharaoh, then falsely accused and framed and put in prison, then made important and honored again, then reunited with his family. Up and down and up down. Moses, condemned as a baby, Hebrew boy and abandoned in the reeds, rescued by Pharoah’s wife, struggled to lead God’s people out of Egypt, then walked God’s people on dry ground out of Egypt. Down and up and down and up.
The man I heard speak this morning specifically used David from the Old Testament in the Bible to illustrate how these ups and downs can look like when we cling to the Creator by our side. David, being a shepherd himself, refers to the Lord as THE great Shepherd in Psalm 23. I am struck to the core at David’s claims of comfort during these highs and lows. Lying down in green pastures and beside still waters contrasted with experiences of deep valleys of dark shadows and looming death…David sees the Lord’s hand, feels comfort, enjoys peace, goodness and love because David DWELLS in the house of the Lord. The Psalms are FULL of David rejoicing with God, mourning with God, asking God the why’s, pleading with God, thanking God. Through it all, David ne’er forgets God is with him.
We long to escape these high mountain tops and low valleys because we are not able to deal on our own. We consistently avoid feeling and run to a source of numbing because we can’t experience as we were created to experience. We numb ourselves by the seeking of technology and creations VS immersing ourselves in the constant and satiating presence of the Creator Lord. I am Queen of escaping. Netflix show binging, foods, wine, new diet trends, workout regimens, staring off into space…QUEEN of escaping. But I long to feel safe, to feel life as it’s meant to feel. The solution, the only solution. Clear as day. The Lord.
Prayer, listening to God’s word, reading God’s word and studying God’s WORDS…without these things, these simple, everyday things…I am lost and numb. The Psalms are conversations with God…back and forth. This is how we are meant to experience highs and lows…through and with our Lord.
So, today I buried our kitten, Wonton. As I buried this little, lifeless and stiff being, that had so quickly won the affections of my family barely two weeks ago…I was struck by sadness…a grief. A super low. Just yesterday, my son and I were dragging a string along with a feather, laughing as Wonton chased and lept after. Hours later, Wonton died in my arms after our dog “played” with her. And today I allowed myself to feel and boy did I cry. This morning I allowed myself to weep as I dug a grave under the post oak trees out back and filled in the dirt. And I cried for my friends. Because the Lord brought to mind people, and I remembered and prayed for my friends who are moms who have wept and buried lost infants in the womb, lost babies just months old, lost children who were 11 and 38, lost husbands who were married only years and husbands after 50 years of marriage. I cried over the status of our country and the words being flung around at each other on comment sections of posts. I cried as God is forgotten, and people judging one another take stage, even through He was the subject of the post to begin with. I cried because I long to not fear. Again…a low. It is much harder to feel than not feel. We are surrounded by a gazillion ways to numb ourselves. Today I prayed. I prayed and I prayed and I read scripture, and yes! God was with me…and that made it real. It hurt, so bad, but it was real hurt. And I’m thankful for real. Real is good. Real is how we were made to be. Real and raw and authentic and right beside the Lord. In joy beside the Lord. In utter despair beside the Lord. Up and down, beside the Lord. There are a thousand hymns and even more scriptures speaking this truth into our lives….I prayed for belief.
I long for heaven…beside the Lord with no pain…but He promises to never leave nor forsake me this side of Heaven…I long to really live life moment by moment, up and down, in this Freedom of truth.