My struggling faith, Edward Mote’s Solid Rock and freefalling into the Grand Canyon.

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The Grand Canyon.

First time we met, I was in my mid-twenties. All my friends ran laughing and screaming to her jagged edge.

I stared into the face of her glory.

  • 227 miles long.
  • 18 miles across.
  • One mile deep.

Then, I backed away.

Not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Once I made it to the van, I huddled inside and prayed that my friends would not fall over the side.

Thirty minutes later, they clamored into the van. I didn’t mind the jostling and teasing. Considering the awesome proportions of the canyon, it was a miracle they survived.

When I returned to School that fall, a conversation reinforced my fears.. An administrator told me about a friend’s trip to the Grand Canyon. How it ended in tragedy. The friend stood too close to the edge. A gust of wind caught her off-balance.

She went over the side.

Not going to happen to me, I vowed. I was never going back. And, I never did.

A few nights ago, I saw a Television special that unnerved me. It was about a glass bridge that engineers built over the Grand Canyon.

Of course, this was no Winnie The Pooh stick bridge.

The horseshoe shaped marvel that curved 70 feet out from the west rim was made of

  • 1 million pounds of steel,
  • 64,000 pounds of glass

It was strong enough to hold the weight of 71 fully loaded 747 airplanes.

I watched footage of people attempting to walk the bridge.

  • Forget the colossal amount of glass and steel.
  • Forget it’s unique deign.

The 2.5 inches of crystal clear glass under their feet freaked them out.

Women, men and kids clutched the railing to keep from plunging to their death.

Mind you, there was no danger of cracking glass or snapping steel.

The bridge just did not feel safe.

Although it was just a show, I clenched my fists like I was holding onto the side of the bridge.

I’ve had enough practice.

Feeling like I’m about to free fall into disaster.

How many time have I heard Proverbs 3:5 quoted?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.”

I figure that leaning on my own understanding is my solid ground. Trusting in the Lord without knowing what is going on feels like tumbling over the edge of the Grand Canyon.

There is a big chance I will not survive.

In 1834, a cabinetmaker named Edward Mote turned his theology into song.

“On Christ the Solid rock I stand,” he wrote, “All other ground is sinking sand.”

Not the kind of solid ground I was counting on.

Christ was a glass bridge.

  • Strong
  • Unmovable

But, often invisible. Hard to trust when I was overwhelmed by circumstances. 

Maybe Edward felt the same sensation. This spiraling down into nothingness.

“When all around my soul gives way,” Edward wrote, “He then is all my hope and stay.”

What have you felt give way?

Finances? Relationships? Your health?

Are you like me? Clutching the railing with my eyes closed? Or, do you let go? Step out in Faith?

I’d love to know.

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Grey’s Anatomy, imaginary diners and how I found faith to survive what I could not control

 

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This is how my fantasy begins.

I’m sitting at a Formica table in a small diner. Just as I take a bite of French Toast, a man walks by and collapses on the floor.

“Is there a doctor in the place?” a waitress calls out.

No one responds.

This guy is going to bite the bullet, I think to myself. He is going to kick the bucket. Buy the farm.

Suddenly, I realize my years of watching ER reruns and Grey’s anatomy episodes were not in vain.

I push back my plate and stand up.

“Probe his chest,” I yell to the waitress as I run over and kneel beside man, “Does he feel bloated?”

She nods.

“It’s a tension pneumothorax,” I snap, “Get me a sharp paring knife and a bottle of Vodka.”

There is no time to waste. Air is escaping out of the lungs into man’s chest. I use the paring knife to make a small hole between two ribs. Then, I insert the pourer from the Vodka bottle into the opening so that the air can escape.

The man takes a deep breath and opens his eyes.

In my fantasy, I’m a hero.

In real life, not so much.

Last year, one of my kids had to catch an overseas flight. I knew the trip would be a challenge. Without a doubt, there were going to be tough times ahead.

My husband and I drove him to the airport. After he disappeared into the terminal, I sat in the van and sobbed.

For the next few weeks, a restless feeling churned in the pit of my stomach. It finally eased when

  1. I stopped fixating on the situation and gave my son space. Not an easy task since every atom in my body yearned to grab the situation and manipulate it to somehow make everything come out the way I thought it should be.
  2. I prayed. Deep fears and doubts poured out of my heart like water over the rim of a plugged up toilet. God did not flinch at the overflow.
  3. I chose to believe.  After all the sermons I had heard through the years, all the theological debates and discussions I had participated in, it was time to live out the truth in my life.

Trusting is not easy. Faith is no picnic. It takes courage and transparency to hang on.

Even the disciples, who hung out with Jesus every day, went through hard times. The more popular Jesus became, the more people came out to see him. Crowds got restless. Men, women and children pushed and shoved to get close to the latest teaching sensation.

One time, it seemed that the situation was about to get out of control. The disciples figured that Jesus would finally say, “Enough is enough. Settle down or the show’s over.”

Instead, he turned to his disciples and talked to them as if nobody else was around.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?” he said, “Yet not one of them is forgotten by God”.

In the middle of chaos, the disciples needed to understand this truth as well as many others. In just a short time Jesus, would be taken from them. Nothing that they could do would change the situation.

The disciples had to back off of foolish heroics. There was no choice but to pray and believe that God cared. God had not forgotten them.

Have you seen God’s faithfulness in your life?

Maybe you are in a situation over which you have no control. Maybe you feel that God has forgotten you.

Tell me about it.

And remember, you are not alone.