Ever been there?
Pulling out your back will automatically get you off your feet and leave you feeling very "still".
For me, it's not the first time it happens. I've pulled out my back more than I want to mention. I hate it. I feel so helpless, as a result.
It reminds me that I've had to "halt"many times in my life. Everything seemed to be moving along, as well as could be expected. And then out of nowhere, there is a stop. Most of the time, it comes unwanted and uninvited, but it is truly much needed. Everyday routines stopped, activities on pause, and I'm left wondering why. Not liking the standstill at all.
Dad walks out.
Loss of loved ones.
Marriage hanging by a thread.
And life feels like there's no moving forward.
Still life does move on, and I realize that I'm the one who's not moving. And as unhappy as I feel, in the back of my mind, I realize that God is in control. He must be.
It's been a tough year for me.
One of the hardest in my life. I can remember the year of my 18th birthday. For a long a time, I felt that had to be the hardest time in my life. And yet after being married, I realized the harder times were still to come.
And so for most of this year, I literally felt like I was walking under one big black cloud. And I could not get away from it, as hard as I tried and wanted to. Of course, I was to blame for the predicament. My fallen desires and selfish ambitions had lead me further and further away from God's perfect will for my life. And I hurt the ones I love most. But my predicament was being unveiled. And so what felt like a standstill road under a dark cloud was truly God's intervention, which in turn was His protection for me from the road of self-absorbed whirlwind that I was creating. Still I'd cry out to God to bring some relief, but the dark road to travel remained. And it seemed impossible to see past it. (Jeremiah 7:24, "But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts." Jeremiah 4:18, "You own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!")
Ironically though, I learned a lot under that "cloud". I learned to ungrip the tight hold I had on my life. I learned that in reality, I am not my own. And I learned that God is faithful, even while I'm under a dark cloud. (1Corinthians 6:19b, "you are now your own")
My children grew and flourished, while under my dark cloud.
Friendships developed and blossomed, while under my cloud.
Forgiveness came under that dark cloud.
God is faithful, regardless of the weather.
(Psalm 138:7a, 8, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.... the Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever-- do not abandon the works of your hands.")
And finally, after much long suffering, things began to lighten up. Just like when morning sun rays kind of sneak up on us, I began to see a streak of light in my walk. And the cloud became lighter and the relief began to set in.
Today I'm at a physical standstill. However, I'm feeling thankful. Even as I'm sitting in bed all day, I'm thankful for the times of unexpected halts and stops. I'm even thankful for the dark cloud this year because although it was not pleasant, I'm a better person, as a result.