Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How Long, O Lord?

The theme of my Google page is Hawaii. In the morning on the page is a scene of an early morning view of the ocean. It always brings to my memory the morning my daughters and I went down to the Maui beach and watched for whales. That time of the day was quiet on the beach, not many people out yet. I could have stayed out there for hours and listened to the waves, felt the ocean breeze and marveled at God's nature. As the day goes on, the pictures change on my page. None is as restful as this one. Still, every time I open Google and see something of Hawaii, I remember the week last March when my girls and I were there. In our lives, we'd been through many hard times together, but over the last years, our lives had seemed much smoother for all three of us. Last December changed that. After being together in Maui,we felt everything had smoothed out and was over. We'd lived through it. It was the first time in many years that the three of us had been together--just the three of us. The last time was also at a beach in 1978. Although those months from December of last year until March had been rocky, we believed life had returned to normal. We were wrong. The past months have been even harder. Even now I can't see the way out. I'll think things have settled down, then something else happens. As much as I try to put it out of my mind after praying about it, it never leaves.

I have a niece who is in a rehab hospital due to anorexia. She has a voice in her head that tells her she can't eat. It's put her entire family into a situation none of them has control over. It affects her sisters and brother, her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins--and most of all, it is robbing her of her teen years. We know people who have cancer, some told it is incurable. They know their end. But the ones who love them see that end as a terrible beginning. Others live with hope that their cancer is cured. Still, they live with the after-affects of their treatments.

Who's to say which way of life is harder? In every instance lives are up-ended, interrupted, and painful. People who have no control over a situation are learning they have to live with it. But it's stealing joy, peace, well-being, and even health. I understand David's cries, "How long, Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?" "Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to you. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

When all this began for me last December, in the night I heard His voice--not audibly, but His voice nevertheless. As clearly as anything I've ever heard from Him came words from the 34th Psalm, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." That's all I have to hold on to.

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