Easter morning dawned more in sad reflection than in a glorious celebration. Lately there have been too many ‘why’ questions, too many reasons to give up. How painless it would be to surrender to the hurts of life.
There has to be more. . .
My tears mingled with the bubbles in the sink as words of Michael W. Smith’s Breathe hung in the atmosphere: “This is the air I breathe, I’m lost without you; I’m desperate for you”– jolted me to examine my desperation level.
A desperate squirrel (squirrels are always desperate, aren’t they?) raced up a small tree near my kitchen window. His idea was to jump to the bird feeder about six feet from the tree exactly as he had done the day before. He didn’t know the feeder had been moved two feet to prevent that possibility from happening again.
This feisty tree climber recognized something different; you could sense his nervous calculations. I counted the times he scaled the tree, observed the distance, scampered down, up again, switching to another limb. He prayed. (You’ve watched a spiritual squirrel stand with folded paws as if praying.) More than a dozen times he made this trip–up, down, more frantic each time.
Then suddenly, he scampered up the tall, stronger trunk in the center. And jumped . . .
Splash! He landed hard on the ground, missing his goal about twelve inches. Do you think that stopped him? For an hour he repeated these obsessive climbs and jumps. Each time he fell short. I had to abandon this scene for church, but now more encouraged. If a squirrel can try such an impossible feat-over and over and over, surely I can confidently walk into the NOW.
I can’t give up.
“Listen to my cry for I am in desperate need” – Psalm 142: 6. David encourages us in his transparency before his Lord at a time when he is fearful for his life. Hiding in a cave from Saul who wants to kill him, David is not ashamed to cry out to the Lord for mercy, for refuge. I cry, too, before the Lord, trusting that it “is He who knows my way, when my spirit grows faint within me.” (verse 3)
Dark, muddled circumstances of life can blind me momentarily, blocking the sunshine. Hiding the reality of God’s promises. Sending me to a cave, my prison. It is then I examine my responsibility in this situation of despair. My heart may be breaking, but I, like this determined squirrel, must continually seek God through the pain.
. . .desperate. . .
. . . you know, I think it is good to be desperate every day for the One who leads with light and truth. I walked this morning down our country lane (we are living in two worlds currently –one where the squirrel lives and the second one, here with the country road), singing loudly, “this is my Father’s world. I rest in Him complete. This is my Father’s world
. . . still desperate. . .
Timothy Keller’s prayer on Psalm 142: Father, your Son was no Stoic. He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He was constantly weeping, sighing, and exulting in spirit. I confess that I either deny my emotions, trying to put on a good front, or let them simply carry me away. Show me how to bring them honestly, yet submissively to you. Amen (Timothy Keller, The Songs of Jesus, page 353. )
. . . after thought. . . I noticed the grass beneath the feeder was trampled perfectly flat when I returned home Easter Sunday. How many times had that determined squirrel jumped and failed? I think he may have bruised himself badly or broken a hip. He or his two buddies have yet to return to the tree. Did he give up? But that’s another blog 🙂