I’m sitting in my dorm room this evening, contemplating finals and papers and how it’s Sunday. Sunday means I don’t do homework. That’s just something I’ve committed to and that I’ve benefited from. I’m antsy, I want to write something, but I’m having writer’s block. I’ve searched through my 11 drafts for blog posts (2 of which I could probably combine into one post, edit, and share with y’all, but that’s for another time), I’ve got music blaring in my headphones, I’ve check Facebook for interesting material only a half a million times. I have a few more ideas… And, yes! I think I’ve nailed a good one! We’ll see, I guess… I might have to give up halfway through this post, delete what I’ve written, and start over. But let’s try this.
Let me explain what just sparked the idea… I went to my Spotify account, pulled up my worship playlist, and thought to myself, Which one of these songs could I write on? Maybe there will be something here. And there it was, staring me in the face. Barlow Girl wrote this awesome song called “Never Alone.” Now that’s something I can write on! God never leaves us! He’s always here, even when we don’t feel it! So, I looked up the lyrics and the official music video and began my research. That’s when I was floored. Check out the music video here. It’s so good! I didn’t really expect the video to be any more powerful than the song itself (because the song is awesome!). But it was. There are two things going on: (1) the band is playing and (2) there’s this guy who’s tied up in the middle of nowhere. I want to focus on 2; that’s the powerful part.
Through the whole song, he’s straining at the ropes that hold him in place. He’s pushing and screaming out to God, facing the heavens and hoping against hope that he can free himself. Finally, after all that, as the song begins to reach its end, the man gives up fighting. He kneels on the ground, praying to God and humbly submitting to whatever God is doing, even though it feels lonely and painful. In that moment, the taut ropes become loose, and he is able to slip from their grasp. No, this is not some magic trick. It’s pretty clear in the video. The ropes, when the man is standing, are pulled up towards him and out towards the stakes in the ground. When he lowers himself, it creates slack in the ropes, a sufficient amount to free him. This isn’t to say he freed himself, or even that he is freed from the wilderness he was in before. Certainly not! In fact, though the man is walking away from his bounds, he is still in the middle of nowhere. It was only when he submitted to God that he was no longer stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Now, bear with me, because this is going to be more personal than I originally intended… not because I’m going to share gory details but because as I write, there will be a bit of a soul-baring on my end. I hope that my vulnerability with myself and with God will encourage you to do the same.
For the past few months, I have been that man. I am in a bit of a wilderness. It’s a beautiful place, actually. I love living here for now. But I haven’t enjoyed it until recently. See, this has been a long semester. It’s flown by, and there has been a lot of good. Yet it has dragged along and been hard in some ways. I’ve impatiently pleaded with God, “How about now? Can we get this over with now? I love life sure, but this one thing–yeah! that! right there!–I need You to do something. Make my friends do something! Give me a chance here, God!” Sure, there are people who needed to grow and change… But I am among them. And as far as I should have been concerned, I was the one who needed to change. I can’t control my friends. I shouldn’t control them. I can encourage them and live alongside them, holding them accountable, but I need to be most concerned about the log in my own eye I before I go sniping at the specks in theirs. Anyway, that wasn’t even the major issue, per se. My biggest struggle actually had little to do with me trying to fix other people. It had to do with impatience.
I’ve been waiting, see, for something to happen. Something has to happen soon… Maybe tomorrow? No… I said that yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. And this is how I lived. Knowing that there was something I could not change, yet desiring with all my being to change it. I allowed myself to be tied down by that knowledge, by that desire. I strained against the bonds of that situation, screaming at God to come and free me, to do things my way, and to do it NOW. And life was pretty miserable when I dwelt on that situation.
Sometime in the past few weeks, I have been lowering myself to the ground, putting myself in God’s hands, and trusting His plan. I’ve been sitting here, praying, writing, and learning. I have humbled myself–by God’s strength–and found myself at the foot of the Cross, staring at the Savior who purchased my freedom. I glance down at my wrists and find that I am no longer bound. While the situation has not necessarily changed, I have. I have given myself over to God’s will. This situation is a rather emotionally charged one, and I was certain I could not be at peace while enduring. I was positive that something had to change before I could be at peace. Well… I guess that was true. I had to change. I had to submit myself to whatever God’s will was, even if it looked like it would end painfully. It hasn’t ended yet, but I trust that God’s will is good. This is not to say that I have humbled myself and submitted myself totally to God! In fact, to say “look how humble I’m being!” would negate my whole point. So hear this, dear friends, I have not reached perfect humility or complete submission. I’m still struggling along, asking God to quiet my soul, to give me peace, and to draw me to His will, come what may. For I am never, ever alone.