Psalm 40:1-2 I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
Is it just me, or do you also feel a little conflicted about this? I mean, it’s great that the Lord heard the psalmist’s cry and lifted him out of the pit of despair and the mud and the mire – but wouldn’t it have been a whole lot better if the poor schmoe hadn’t fallen into the pit to begin with? I mean, would it have been so difficult for God to put up a big sign, “DON’T STEP HERE” or rope it off or fill it up or something? Couldn’t he have just changed the road to go past the giant pothole of doom?
I can’t say I am at perfect peace, waiting for the election results today. I can’t say I’m not depressed that the nation is so clearly divided and that this election is not going to solve that division, whichever way it goes in the next few days. I can’t say that I’m feeling confident and brave and focused and hopeful and holy.
Right now, I feel like the nation is in the pit, muddy and slimy and darkened and smelly and mired in conflict. I wish there had been a rope or a sign. But knowing us, we would have plopped down in the middle of this anyway, signs and barriers be damned.
So I have to choose to act on what I do not feel. I have to lay claim to what isn’t anywhere in my field of vision. I have to insist on what isn’t in any tweet or poll. In the pouring rain, I have to believe I risk a tan.
Christ will prevail. That’s what He said. And that means that this pit isn’t the final destination. But Christ’s timing isn’t mine. He waited until after all the flogging and the bleeding and nails-in-palms and suffering and dying were well invested in. He waited until after the spear in the side, after the funeral, to change the rules. The “ta-da” moment was long after the stone was set in place and everyone had gone home because there were just no more tears left to cry. He waited long after anyone had held out hope.
So it also means that until I feel the thunk of the fallen rope on my head and the upward tug after I’ve tied it to my waist, I have to be ready to tread the muddy water for a while longer. To hold my breath. To fight the chill on my soul. To hunt around in the muck, find the sticky, slimy hand of the others in here with me, and hold on effing TIGHT. So that we don’t lose each other in the dark. So that we don’t let go of who we are, as we wait for Him to give the signal. So that while we wait and sweat and weep and pray and stress eat and binge watch mindless television, we don’t let each other drown.
Keep the mud out of your mouth if you can. Breathe deep and slow. Stay near to each other. Resist the urge to flail, you’ll just sink deeper and smack me in the head on the way. Take turns crying and comforting. Take turns resting. Take turns looking up. For God’s sake, don’t look down. I need you. And I pray like hell that heaven won’t let me let you down, because you need me, too. I can’t promise I won’t be afraid, but I will be here for you, tears, fears, hopes, prayers, screams and all.