When you’re in that place of emptiness, what else is there to say? When your sin is larger than life, and you feel as if it has you on the ropes, what gets you through the day? How do you even survive the night?
Right now, right here, as these words are typed, I feel woefully broken inside. I feel as if there is nothing alive within me. Though I know my flesh is slowly decaying, it feels as if my insides are doing the same, but at three times the rate. I know it will pass, but in the middle of it all, it burns at me, and leaves me feeling charred. In those moments I feel reduced to ash and all it would take is a gentle breeze to dissipate all that I am. I know I’ve probably used the “F” word a bit too much, but please don’t tell me I’m the only one. These are the thoughts, the “feelings” we don’t trust, but nevertheless we feel them and when they overcome us, it’s a struggle to remain afloat.
My trials, my sins, are exactly that… mine. I know it can’t compare to the persecution that occurs elsewhere, and I wouldn’t even attempt to call it the same. But, maybe this is the struggle of the Christian in times of peace, or in places where there is no fear of physical retribution over your faith. The struggle against the thoughts that now take center stage because we need not be concerned with our physical lives day-to-day. We allow ourselves to be enticed by so many of life’s delicate leanings. I wonder if the struggle of daily persecution has the benefit of focusing our attention on things outside ourselves.
These are the days I don’t feel like a good father, husband, brother, or friend. Maybe the only reason work still feels even remotely fulfilling is because it’s a task outside of me, and the busyness of it locks all the struggles of my mind behind a 5 inch thick steel door with a time-sensitive lock that only opens again at approximately 5:15 PM, better know to me as the time I return home from work. Sure, a thought or two sneaks out throughout day, but it’s only when I get home that it all rushes back like an amnesia patient being around familiar things. It’s not just the memory, but the feelings that go with it. It feels overwhelming, at least for me.
At the end of it all, at the end of myself, and of all of us, is God. A God, who through His Son, sympathizes with our struggles. One who wept for a friend and who was disappointed by those around him. Betrayed, abandoned, and ultimately forsaken, this Son of God, Jesus, knows deeply our struggles, and our doubts. It’s not just because of his omnipotence, but because he became a man and bore pain and heartache. I can’t piously say, “this is what keeps me going”. I don’t have an unending supply of perfect faith for this Savior of mine. I don’t puff my chest out, proclaiming with a bull horn that, “I will follow him with all that I am!”
I follow him for one reason and one reason only, because he carries me along. There are NEVER two sets of footprints in the sand. When we cry out to God and say, “I believe, help my unbelief”, he is that help. We all struggle with unbelief, and it’s not a sin to admit that. But in that struggle, Christ is not just helping us with more belief, he is carrying us along by the belief we have.
I probably have way too many moments like this, but I imperfectly trust when I cry out to Christ in repentance, “help my unbelief”, that he is carrying me along. It is Christ who holds fast to me.
In your deepest struggle, it is Christ holding fast to you ALWAYS. He has brought you past the finish line. He is keeping you His. Believe that, trust that, know that…
I pray for you, and myself…
Christ Hold Fast.