Sunday, March 29, 2015

When you feel helpless

It's been hard for me to write much the past few days because a few people close to me are walking through some very hard things. The parenting goals and budgeting tips are swirling around in my mind, but they won't come out.
My heart is heavy.
Weighed down by the pain others are experiencing.
Weighed down as I consider the feeling of complete helplessness.

Have you ever felt helpless?
Like, there's a situation you want to help, but you can't. There is nothing to do.
I'm a fixer. Not being able to help goes against every reaction I have in a hard situation.
In those moments when everything is out of your control,
when words aren't much comfort,
there is no solution to fix it,
no task that will really help,
I feel removed, and helpless.

There's been days like that lately. I'll receive news from a friend or a family member, and there is nothing to do or say.
Many days, it seems my prayers end at, "Oh Lord... you know..."
because that's all I can get out.
I have nothing else to offer except the faith to believe that the Holy Spirit is interceding on my behalf, praying for the people I love when I don't even have the words. (Rom 8:26-27)

But the truth is
While I may feel helpless, I am not without help. 
Our help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:2)
He is the Helper. "Surely God is my help, the one who sustains me," the psalmist cried out. (Psalm 54:4)

There's a comfort in that. In having a Helper. 

But then, I consider the feeling of complete hopelessness. 
I haven't felt hopeless in a long time, but I remember the feeling well. 
And I empathize with it in others. Hopelessness is blinding and crushing and defeating. It is very hard to see clearly or think straight when you are surrounded by dark, suffocating in despair.

And yet, the darker the night, the brighter even a small flicker of light seems.  

In the midst of the darkness and the helplessness and hopelessness, the God who created you and loves you whispers, "Hope in me. I am your rescuer. Just let go so I can pull you out of your muck and your mire. I am your refuge, I am your strength, I am your help. Do not be afraid. No matter what happens, I love you, I am with you." (Psalm 40, 46)

Though you feel hopeless, you are not without hope. 
There is no place you could be - no past or present too dark - that Jesus would not open the door and run in to rescue from you from the pit of despair you are in. 
And not just rescue, but redeem you, and save you, and hold you. He is the light of the world, radiantly beaming through the cloud of dark despair surrounding you.  

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus name.  (song here)

That is the hope I cling to.
Most things in life are not certain.
But, Jesus is.
He loves every person and is faithful to every promise.

In the moments following those silent, wordless, heart-crying-out prayers I mentioned earlier, the burden is lifted. I often experience a physical feeling of lightness. He said, "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Come to me you who are weary and heavy laden. I will give you rest." [I've always thought of this as figurative rest. But, maybe it's literal rest too. I've had some sleepless nights lately, and sometimes I just have to ask him to take the burden. Over and over until I fall asleep.]

No need to carry the burden by yourself, sweet child.
I can handle it, He says.
The weight of the sin of the world on his shoulders wasn't enough to hold him back from willingly enduring the cross.
And not just endure, but defeat and conquer.

And in the truth of the cross, and Jesus' resurrection (how timely to be considering these this week leading up to Easter), though I don't know where any situation will end up this side of heaven, I am sure of this:
Death is crushed to death and life is ours to live
bought with his precious blood.
This the power of the cross, son of God slain for us.
What a life, what a cost,
we stand forgiven at the cross. (song here)

Oh death, where is your victory?
Oh death, where is your sting?