Drinking Deeply

Thursday, March 03, 2005 at 1:10 AM

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

To be honest the past two weeks have been downright horrid. I don't exactly know what happened but all of a sudden I became overwhelmed with just everything that I felt so responsible for (I know, God's shoulders are broader than mine will ever be, I don't know what happened but I just didn't see God in any of it). I felt incredibly dry and burnt out last Friday (the 18th) and didn't know what had happened. I looked within myself and was just overcome with guilt and despair over how much pride had infested my life. I just felt so... unclean and couldn't pray, couldn't find the hope and joy and reassurance that I was so used to find in His word. I don't know what happened. I used to take such refuge in His Word, to look to the joy set ahead even in the midst of trial and suffering but all of a sudden that was gone. I felt very much like David did in Psalm 51 when he cries out: "Restore in me a joy of salvation!". I would pray and confess and repent, but the pride was still ever there with me haunting me.

On Saturday I got the chance to talk with T and he prayed for me and that helped a little bit. It was ok, but then I went to missions training and the reading was all about seeking joy in God, and how our chief end was to bring God worship (as missionaries) and that starts with worshiping God ourselves and I saw so little of that in my life. I saw the words but didn't feel them. =/

Sunday was much of the same, worship and service was ok, felt like God was speaking directly into my pride, my hard heart, but I felt so unresponsive. The heart was so hard and I felt so unworthy to be in His house. I got through the day until the evening when it all crashed down again. Despair, depression, weariness, pride... overwhelmed me and I didn't know what to do. I knew that I needed to pray, confess, repent but I tried and... it didn't seem to work. Like I was demanding something from God... but I couldn't get away from that mentality. It haunted me and I was just begging for peace, for trust, for hope... but it wasn't there. I ended up talking with Danny Dokko for a long time late into the night and he said he had gone through the same thing many a time, but didn't have any answers and wanted me to let him know when I found some... disheartening but encouraging to see that he knew what I was going through.

Woke up monday feeling a little better... not great but better. Got through the day... but then it crashed once again. I felt like the same exact thing. I didn't know where to turn. I had been talking, praying, crying, reading... it all seemed to go back to my selfish pride and I couldn't get away from it. I felt trapped, with a hard heart and stained hands. My family, my home church, my pride, each and every one of my individual failures staring me in the face... it sickened me, disgusted me. I hate it but couldn't get away from it. I felt like I was trapped.

David came back from a conference in LA and he talked with me into the night. We prayed and it helped a little bit, but it still surrounded me. I didn't know what to do.

I got through Tue-Fri mainly on the strength of a desire to do something. I didn't want to be trapped, so I pushed it away, all the while realizing (but trying to avoid) the fact that I was using pride to fight this and it still haunted me. I just hoped that God would accept my days somehow even though deep down inside I knew He didn't.

I asked for a lot of prayer over the week, from my small group. P. Ting, my Christian friends in my dorm, my friends from back home. I knew that the prayer of a righteous man could heal me, but I didn't feel like I could be that man so I begged for it from everyone else.

After the week was over it crashed down again. Without a motivating force I was forced to face reality once again... Friday was miserable. Went to pho trying to just surround myself with light so that I didn't have to face the darkness. Feeling the darkness emanating from within me did not help. I tried to cover the growing fear with small talk, about the freshmen, small group, hopes for the fellowship, but my words couldn't cover what my heart was saying, screaming in my ears. "unworthy, prideful, hard, stained..."

I plodded through Saturday. Broke down when I was talking to David after a Testimony gig. He and his parents who were in for the weekend prayed for me, but I had to go so I didn't have a chance to talk to them. Plodded through a TJ meeting and a missions training. I just could not see the joy in my heart that I once had.

Came back and tried to pray, tried to read. Felt very lost and empty. a few hours later David came back with his parents and I talked with them detailing everything that I was going through. I felt like a wreck. The rock that I stood on felt... insubstantial and I didn't understand why, and the only reason I could come up with was that I never actually properly stood on that rock... no other time had I felt so lost and broken and empty and dry, yet at the same time I sensed that even though God called me to repent and confess, my heart would not. The other law was waging war against the parts of my body, and I feared it was a losing battle.

David's parents talked with me for a long time and then they prayed for me. We talked, prayed, talked... it all just came pouring out. It helped a great deal. They reassured me a great deal and mentioned that it sounded like a spiritual attack more than anything. I definitely see where David gets his great compassion and amazing heart from. I wish...

I dunno, I guess they helped. I've been a lot more able to pray and read the Word since Saturday. It still sticks with me and I've been talking a lot with David since then, though I feel like the worst has passed since I can now honestly look at the cross and see his completing and all sufficient work that covers my sin. In spite of all the stuff and gunk that is in my life I've been able to trust that God still is growing me, stretching me (painfully) and working in me as well as through me.

Where am I now? Still walking, feels mighty dark sometimes, but He is with me, his rod and his staff, they comfort me. Thank God.

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