Previously on “The Weight of Wait”… (you can read PART-1 by clicking HERE).
Unspeakable, literally unspeakable, pain. Feelings of despair, hopelessness, and death lingered like a dense fog and took root in my heart, then growing like crabgrass in the lawn. Through the daily, consistent doses of mental and emotional anguish, I quickly began to dwindle down as a person to nothing except a mere soul. Everything I thought I was had been shaved away. Everything I thought I wanted to do was burnt to the ground. I had no foreseeable future that mattered to me. Everyone I thought I would grow old with was now in the process of quickly fading away and becoming a mere memory. I figured that I would probably end-up alone. Every blissful dream I of raising my children, watching them grow, guiding them through daily life, and experiencing the milestones of their lives was shattered. It would probably be some other man in some other place. I was on the path of losing everything; having nothing, having no one, and being no one. This was the weight I experienced in my wait.
As time seemed to crawl by I was faced with some facts that I had to accept. First, I was in jail and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Second, the time for continual feelings of despair couldn’t go on. It was deteriorating my soul. And lastly, all I had control of was the “right now” moment. Not the past nor the future, but simply the “right now” moment. These three facts were foreign to my thinking because I had been so clouded with the pain and despair of injustice. Growing up in Oklahoma I saw many tornadoes. I even got really close to one once. It was an EF-5, the worst and most powerful kind. It destroyed everything in its way and there was nothing anyone could do about it. The clouds grow dark and rain and hail fly at you faster than Dallas traffic and it hurts, it hurts bad. And somehow when the tornado is bulldozing the face of the earth, people have the wherewithal to think about what to do, in “the moment.” Even though it’s dark, wet, deafening, and painful, people are able to make decisions in the moment that can save their lives.
That’s what I decided to do. The tornado of injustice and judgment from the “witch-hunt” was beyond what I could handle, beyond what I could emotionally carry. Everything seemed to be swirling around at the speed of light and none of it was right or true, yet something had to be done. Somehow I had to emotionally and psychologically survive that storm. So I turned to “the moment,” the one thing I could in fact control. Of course, I could’t control the moment itself, but I could control how I saw the moment and how I responded to the moment. And those moments are like bricks. One-by-one I gave them my full attention and decided to be conscious of my faith in God, my just God. And brick-by-brick I began to build my faith in God and my strength within myself.
I believe there are times when God allows injustice, pain, and suffering for the sole purpose of shaping the suffering individual. The logic of the world says, “What kind of loving God would do things that way?” I have a confession to make. Sometimes I think that way. It’s natural to think that way. It only makes sense to ask the question. I have asked more than a hundred times in the last year, “God, Your Word says you love justice, yet You are allowing injustice to occur in my life…what the hell are You doing? This doesn’t make sense. Why would You allow this? How am I supposed to believe in You privately? Further, I can’t believe and claim my trust in you publicly if I don’t believe You privately. What are you doing? Are you there? Hello!” Sometimes I have a smaller faith in God than I do anything or anyone else on earth. Faith is hard. I’ve asked those questions many times. But as I began to look at life in moments and somewhat purposely lose sight of the “big picture” (because I couldn’t see the big picture anyway), I began to see the hope God offers. It was when I shifted my gaze from the destructive awe of the storm to the seemingly meaningless moment in front of my face, that I began to see the beauty of the suffering I was standing in.
Gazing at the moment stopped my mind from gazing at the hurtful past, the desperation of the present, and the fear of the future, and brought my focus to the very real presence of Jesus beside me in the moment. Having pretty bad ADHD, my wife gets annoyed at me sometimes (and rightfully so) because we’ll be having a conversation and I will get distracted. The TV will be on and I go from having good eye contact with her and comprehending what she’s saying to watching the TV and responding to her comments with “uh huh, yep, I know right, uh huh.” I’m in her presence, but I’m so focused on what’s happening around me that I lose touch, first with the conversation and then with her presence altogether. And we can do that with Jesus sometimes. If we’re not careful to live in the moment, acknowledging His presence and remaining consciously aware of His presence with us, then we will step into the spiritual quicksand; the pain of the past, the desperation of the present, and the fear of the future.
Whatever you’re experiencing right now: rejection for who you are, sickness and/or disease, injustice, depression, hopelessness, a low self-esteem or image, greed, anger, whatever; mentally and spiritually step away from the quicksand and into the present moment. That’s right. Right now. This moment, as you read this. Take this moment to talk with Jesus wherever you are. OK, that moment is gone and is now the past. Another moment is about to pass. I can’t solve your problems or give you a formula to make your life better. I’m just a person, just like you. But I believe that Jesus is the answer for the pain in your life, wherever you are and wherever you come from. Meet Him in this moment by simply talking to Him. You don’t have to live differently or believe differently to approach Him. You only need to approach Him. That’s the beauty of Jesus that’s rarely preached. You have nothing to offer God. Plus, He has no needs…He’s God. You can’t get it right and then approach Him because you and I will never get it right. Jesus says to just come to Him, period. In my opinion, the greatest gift you can give God is your unfiltered honesty. So give it to Him the moment you finish reading this sentence.