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The Faithful Cloud of Witnesses
Posted on May 08, 2009

It has been a tough couple of months.  The reasons are not important; they are probably no different or more difficult than things that you have been struggling with.  But nevertheless, it has been hard.  I have found myself waking up in the night struggling with issues; frustrated, angry, scared.

This morning was one of those mornings.  I woke up at 4 AM with my mind churning over several things.  I lay in bed for thirty minutes trying to go back to sleep to no avail.  At 4:30 got up, grabbed my Bible and journal and headed for my father in law’s office at the back of the house.

For the next hour I wrote out all of the things that were troubling me.  Again, the specifics are not important, but I was feeling abandoned, disoriented, confused, anxious… I knew I was supposed to cast all of those cares on Him, but that was a whole lot easier to read and memorize than is to do.  So for an hour I poured my heart out on the pages of my journal.

For the past year I have changed what I have been doing in my times with God.  Several years ago at a friend’s wedding an Episcopal priest gave me a copy of The Book of Common Prayer.  For this last year I have been following the readings for each day of the Christian calendar.  There are three readings each day for both the morning and evening.  Most days I only do the mornings.  After the hour of vomit in my journal, I picked up the BCP and read the first passage for today, Psalm 143.  I could not believe what I was reading.  It was as if David had copied my journal.  His cries for help and his description of his heart mirrored mine exactly.  The next passage was Numbers 14; there the nation of Israel was terrified of entering the Promised Land because it looked hard.  Their response was to “appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.”  That is to turn away from what God had told them to do because it was hard, again that mirrored my heart.  The next passage was Hebrews 13:9 – 16; verse nine filleted me – “it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods…”  Each of these passages were a custom fit for my heart.

I have also been reading through Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, Henrichsen’s Thoughts from the Diary of a Desperate Man, and Our Daily Bread.  Suffice it to say that in each of those works, the day’s thoughts, profoundly spoke to the state of my heart in dealing with the issues that got me out of bed. 

Nothing is solved.  The issues are still there and will continue to be.  I was feeling alone.  When I started writing I wondered if anyone else had gone through what I had.  The gracious answer this morning was and unqualified yes.

The point of all this is that this experience is not unique.  There have been many times in the past few weeks, months, and years that when I cry out to God in the pages of my journal and then turn to the Word and the “fellowship” of others through the passages they have put together for the Christian year, or the devotionals they have written, my heart is strengthened and comforted by their work.

You may, like me, sometimes feel alone, dealing with issues that you cannot or do not want to share with others.  This journey we are on is difficult.  Few finish well.  I am learning that there is much comfort not only in the Word but in the shared experiences of those saints who have consented to share their struggles with me through their writings.  The struggle is continual.  Hebrews 12:1, 2 tell us we need their encouragement.  I am thankful they left it in written form.
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Category: Spiritual Life

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