When I was just a wee tad younger swimming in the shark-infested waters of a sad sad time in my life, I flew straight into a storm that knocked me to my knees. And everywhere I turned the battle raged and victory appeared...well....impossible.
Someone I loved was hurting. Flailing around in tumultuous storms. Drowning. Lost. I wondered how he'd ever survive another setback, another failure, another battle to start all over again. I'd long given him over to the care of God, the result of many anguished prayers on the floor of my bedroom holding life and death bargaining meetings with my Heavenly Father. Still, at times, in my heart there was no peace. Fear does that to a mother.It seemed to me that God's whispers in my heart entailed one message and one message only - "How far, Miss Mimi, will you trust Me?"
"But God, this is big. This is really BIG."
"How far will you trust Me?"
I can't lose him. I won't.""
"How far will you trust me?"
"I can't stand aside and watch this."
"How far....How far....will you trust?
I started to think about the extreme case of Abraham and Isaac. Jewish Father and son. Both trusted their Fathers. Both had everything to lose. It is a parable that makes the how far moments in this world seem tritefully small. But for me, there was no clearer example of trust nor a more vivid image of terror - the same kind of terror that invaded my heart.
Call it what you will but
....there are moments in life when there isn't a blessed thing you can do and you might find yourself before it's over, cursing God, when such a thing previously would never have entered your sanctimonious mind. So when the cursing began in this war that waged in me, I said it loud and clear.
I threw my Bible against the wall.
I was done.
His reply to my tirade?
"How far will you trust me?"
It was maddening.
"OK God. Don't engage. Just sit up there in your pristine world of omnipresent peace knowing how this is gonna turn out and don't give me a damn clue. See if I care! I've had it. You win!"
There are defining moments in the course of a life....when the cost is so great that the idea of taking our hands off the helm implausible. One such moment came to me. I could either orchestrate what I wanted for his life in a thousand mother prayers all laid out neatly while I twisted God's arm or I could abandon that doomed idea and surrender.
The day came when I had to watch him lose it all. And I wondered how far my trusting would reach. How deep my faith would go. How much longer I could trust in a Jesus-loves-me God when all I could see was a child on a path of destruction.
Epiphany #2. It was during that time when my love for him was the only thing I COULD give him.
There has been no sorrow, no loss, nothing... and I do mean nothing, that compares with the fear and the agony of watching him stumble and rise, rise and fall. There was no peace to be found. No reason to hope. No new medication or miracle approach. Hellacious chaos.
His suffering acute. Volatile. Unpredictable. Spiraling out of control was my child. And it could have toppled me over in an unreachable mess for years to come, even to this day, deep are the scars of such battles....if not for one thing.
I got a little taste of how much faith it must have taken for Abraham not to question God's direction in his life and lay down all he had. I was there.
We all know the story - the symbolic tale of the unspeakable task of an earthbound father carrying a knife and a nod from Heaven.
I do not wonder if Abraham cried, if he cursed.
I know he must have.
Isaac's life was spared by the hand of grace. My son's life was spared by the same invisible hand. You don't have to believe it literally to understand it spiritually. But you do have to believe in grace.