Monday, March 11, 2013

A deep tap root of faith.

It is a horrible constant struggle. That point of volleying back and forth in the horrible place between needing to scream for the One who can to pull me from the pit of my despair and yet, not wanting to ask for His help at all because hanging on to my anger that my son has to endure one more thing is a huge part of my not-coping-too-well-skills today.

When I close my eyes, I know the love of a Savior that promises to hide me in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 17:8), a promise that has physically comforted me for years. I know, also that He is capable of healing my son with a word, of preventing Benjamin from needing this surgery entirely.

And so I struggle. I cry out. I plead. And I struggle with the why. Oh, I so struggle with the why.

And then I force myself to be still -- a mandate from my will even when my heart is fighting it. Fighting the need to sit and read my Bible, poring over the scriptures that are God-breathed to teach, to reprimand, to grow.  And so I did this morning.

And today, my friends, my reading was from Matthew 13 and I was struck with the absolute perfect timing. Timing that forced me to lay aside my whining for a moment to bask in the truth and lesson I needed to hear loud and clear this morning:

"A farmer when out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop -- a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  (Matthew 13:3-9)

"When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the words and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." (Matthew 13:19-23)

Years ago, we were living in Alabama when a snow/ice storm came through. The trees became bowed under the weight of the ice, bending down and almost touching the ground. At that time, we had never lived north of the Mason-Dixon and wondered about trees in the northern areas that received much more snow than our little Alabama dusting. Our friend from Michigan assured us that trees do not suffer that problem up north. He explained that the tap root of trees in the north runs deep in order to support them through the rough winter storms.

Today as I studied Matthew 13, I was reminded of the snow-damaged trees from way back. Of trees in my beloved South that lack a deep tap root. And not for the first time, I was grateful for a tap root of faith that runs deep. The trees in northern climates do not grow a deep tap root because of some knowledge they have as a sapling. No. The trees face adversity from the beginning. They deal with harsh temperatures, winter storms and are forced to sink their tap root deeper and deeper to provide the strength to stand tall in the midst of the trial.

My tap root runs deep in much the same way. And because God has grown my faith to run deep, to stand firm, to be strong, my faith will not be scorched by the heat of this adversity, of this pending surgery, of this heart-ache that my child has to endure one more thing. My faith is not contingent on "feeling good" or being happy. My faith has a root that runs deep. My faith knows that Jesus died on the cross so that in eternity, my Benjamin will be fully healed. He won't need surgery. He won't need a wheelchair. Jesus healed here on earth so that we might imagine the grandeur of Heaven with no sickness, no infirmities, no pain.

And in the meantime, I will cry out and ask Him to cover me in the hiding place of His wings. Until my attitude is adjusted. Until my self-pity has receded and I am once again, fit company for the world.