Standing in the midst of another cold and gloomy January it’s hard not to feel like life is on repeat. The possibilities of new beginnings, that the new year promised, have faded. The blank pages of new chapters have now been written on. The burdens we tried to leave behind in 2019 have had time to settle on our shoulders again. For good or ill time is moving relentlessly forward.
Life for me currently feels like an extended exercise in going round in circles. The same ups and downs, familiar clouds lingering on the horizon, the same long wait for breakthrough. My prayers tread the same paths, repeating questions that I have yet to find answers to but can’t let go of entirely. Faith is feeling like an act of endurance and when I look at those around me I feel like I’m doing something wrong.
I am reminded again if the lyrics of the song ‘Do it again‘ by elevation worship:
“Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet
I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again”
The realm of faith can be uncomfortable. Its sitting in front of mountains trusting they can move. Trying to keep a picture in your mind of how things will be, rather than how they are now. It’s living in the gap between your hopes and reality, the valleys littered with broken dreams and lost possibilities. It’s feeling like you have nothing left to give but knowing you must go again anyway.
Faith is trusting an unseen God with every facet of the reality you’re experiencing. It’s trusting that one so intangible can intervene in tangible ways. It’s believing you have a different identity, one untainted and precious, despite the words of this world that stick to you. It’s trying to live life with one foot on the earth and the other in eternity.
Faith is clinging onto all the stories of God’s provision. The times He intervened in your life. You chart a course for the future fuelled by the hopes of the past. Those stories may seem frail and fragile in the shadow of the darkness you’re facing now. But their words can feed the embers of a weary heart.
The one thing that can seem universally true is that pain will come. It’s easy to measure life by that pain, to weigh it’s value by the volume of our heartache. We forget how the sun felt as soon as the rain clouds come into view. Doubt grows like a weed in the shadows of our hearts. We struggle to believe that either God is able or that He wants to help us. We make our beds in the wilderness because we can’t see the green pastures around the corner.
The truth is God is always bigger than our problems, no matter how many times they seem to repeat themselves. If He provided for you then, He can do it again now. If He showed you the way when there seemed to be no way, then He can guide you again. If He gave you the strength for each day then, He can do it again now.
I don’t know how many times I must walk around these walls before they fall. Or how long till the trumpets sound their victory cry. I don’t even know what the end game is, yet alone the timescale. I may never see the answers. But I know we’ve been here before and that this is the same God who saw me through last time. I have to trust that my God is a way maker, that He can bring forth springs in the desert and that one day the walls will come tumbling down.