I know. I've been there, almost paralyzed by not knowing what to do, not knowing where to turn. Not knowing Who God is for me. Or where He is!
"God, why?" I've cried. "Why is this happening? And why should I even think of turning to You when You're the One allowing this to happen?"
After my tears, my questions, slowly, surely, a golden light begins to form in the back of my mind. A grace, a gift. The green ground of memory. Memory after memory, rising up in my mind's eye, so I recall people, places, events, emotions.
Sometimes these snapshots from my life make me double over with the pain of not living Then or There any more. Yet the pain gives way to joy that these people, these places, these events are gifts that will always be a part of me and make me who I am, a person capable of love and self-sacrifice.
Other memories bring back to life the fears, the struggles, the obstacles I've had to overcome already. I flinch, hating to re-live them. Yet, this pain gives way to awe that I did overcome, that I did endure. These dark, lonely struggles have also been gifts. Trials have made me the strong, self-reliant person I am today.
And faces rise before my inner eyes, parents, grand-parents, relatives, friends, people who have died or who are in my life now. Strong people, whose loving, quietly courageous lives are an inspiration. People who have promised me prayers. People who have gone out of their way to help me, and who will again. And my fears, my sense of isolation, begin to ebb. I am surrounded by a community of saints. I can hope again.
I become suddenly aware of the gentle hand carrying these memories into my mind, the gentle heart beating against mine, the gentle voice speaking in my inner ear:
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God,...your Savior." (Isaiah 43:1-3).
Yes, I have had those times when I am barely treading water in my life, close to drowning in over-responsibility and depression. When I feel as if the bitter fires of rage, bitterness, or a desire for vengeance are about to consume me. But the green ground of memory has always graced me, shown me that God has always been there, in every event of my life, leading me, guiding me, loving me, protecting me, upholding me. Knowing He is trustworthy, I suddenly have the strength to choose to have faith in One who has always been and always will be committed to me. I can rest on Him.