Trying To Understand What Can Not Be Explained
Rock climbing has never been one of my hobbies although I have admired from a far off the skill level and fearlessness one must attain to conquer mountain peaks. One aspect of rock climbing that has impressed me is tiny little things called “anchors.”
Anchors are devices that attach the climber to the face of the cliff or mountain. Odd how sometimes the smallest of things are the most fundamental and powerful, as to save one from death! As the climber ascends, with great force and exertion he drives anchors into the mountain surface along the way. If he happens to lose his grip and fall, he will be held and only fall the distance to the closest anchor. The hope is the anchor will support his free-fall and hold him till the climber can again retain grip and continue his journey onward and upward. The goal is to reach the top. The challenge is not to lose footing or grip as you make your way against gravity. Your hope is the anchor will catch and hold you. Your hope is that you will be held.
Over the past year I have given this concept a lot of consideration, the concept of climbing, mountains, falling and anchors. What do I believe? How far do you fall when what you believe is challenged? What happens when your faith gets violated by circumstances? Where do you go when the absolute worst nightmare becomes your reality? My realization is you fall till you are caught and held by your closest or deepest anchor, if you have one. If you do not have an anchor then there is no hope but to hit the bottom. If you are willing, after much time to heal, from the bottom you can start your ascent again, but the journey is slow and arduous. And much is lost in the process. However, if you have anchored yourself correctly, even during the worst of the storms, you can maintain your position or only lose a small amount of vertical ground if you happen to slip. This understanding of anchoring myself is a viable solution if I keep the focus of the vision, which is to reach the top of the mountain. My vision is not to climb the mountain but to attain the very top.
My faith was that Grace would live. And I climbed. I believed that with my whole heart and I climbed. I did not doubt. And I climbed. I was not alone in this but many believed for the miraculous on our behalf, especially Grace. The first time I entertained thoughts of her funeral were as Eric and I were leaving hospice, watching the hearse make its way with Grace’s lifeless body tucked inside. And I fell. Shock, grief, disbelief, bewilderment were only the beginning of my emotional state. Weeks went by. My hands, feet and heart slipped and I continued to fall.
This is the anchor that caught me. “Faith, Hope, and Love and the greatest of these is Love.”
After Grace’s death and burial I could not discuss my faith with even myself and would not dare to even look at the notion of hope. I was broken inside and there were no “horses or men” to put me back together again. But, gently my Father spoke these words and reminded me, “Love is the greatest.” He did not chide me for losing my grip on faith. Nor did He rebuke me for not remembering hope. He, very patiently, reminded me of Love. He revealed this anchor and gave me the choice to gain my footing or continue to fall. I held onto that rope and anchor with everything I had because when I looked down it was not the bottom I saw but the never-ending abyss. “Choose to Love!” is what I quietly shared with Eric that evening. “Let’s not concern ourselves with faith for the moment. Let’s not even try to deal with hope for our souls just yet. Let’s just choose to love. Let’s choose love God with all our hearts. Let’s choose love each other without question. Let’s choose to love our family and our life!” This word of the Lord was very timely because I could feel the bitterness wanting to rise in my thoughts. The walls that surround to keep out but also create prisons were starting to rise within. Thoughts of cynicism were beginning to whirl around my mind like an out of control dust bowl. But the anchor of Love caught and has held me tightly. To choose to love when you are broken and poured out is no small thing. To worship and praise God and love Him with all your might when you have no answers to the ever pounding questions of your bludgeoned heart is not a trivial thing.
And, He is not a trivial God. Months have passed and as I stood in service recently worshipping Him and loving Him, acknowledging my weakness and brokenness, like a vessel smashed to bits and the insides poured out and displayed before Him, He answered me again. His answer? A glimmer of Hope! He did not give me understanding of why or how or what but He offered me a piece of Himself, His hope. It was just a sliver, more like a dust mote or cell of skin really. But like I said He is not a trivial God and there is nothing small about Him. In that one molecule of Himself, I knew I was being healed and put back together again. Hope is being restored inside my heart, small like a butterfly landing but powerful like the changing of seasons. I am gaining my grip and strength to climb once again. My vision of the summit has not changed and my journey upward will continue. But most importantly I have learned it doesn’t matter if it is the slow and methodical climb upward or the rare but rapid decent of a spiraling misstep, I have an anchor that will hold. And I know with confidence I am HELD.