Lent 8 ~ The Hidden Race

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          I went over the edge today. I saw it clearly, I knew I was heading there. And yet, I refused to stop. Yesterday, I felt God was asking me permission to wound me with His word. I didn’t know what it would mean for me except that when a word like ‘wound’ is used, it is never going to be easy or pleasant. I knew it would hurt and I was so afraid.

          And yet, I could not seem to hide from that invitation to open myself as never before. Shrinking within myself, not wanting it a bit, I found myself saying, I need to die to myself.

          And then, feeling like I was throwing myself off a building, I offered,

Thy will be done.

Wound me.

          He is a God of His Word. Wound me He did. By wounding my child. There had been an athletic race and my child had given till there was nothing left to give and yet had been crushed.

          My anger at what He allowed to happen was beyond fury. I know nobody will stand on my side in this. Some day even I might see the unreasonableness of my emotions and response. But at that very moment, I plumbed the depths of disappointment that so much of heart and soul training from this child who had been so easily vanquished before but who fought to overcome deep-rooted weaknesses, had now ended in dismal failure.

          Because, at the root of my falling was the fear that my child might turn away from the God trusted and relied on for strength and grace to persevere.

          I was so afraid that this result would lead to a spiritual catastrophe – the beginning of the turning away from God.

          I  had asked to be wounded. I hadn’t asked for my child to be wounded and to be wounded in this way. The sheer unfairness of it drove me out of myself. I flung myself at God. Not in humility but in cold flaming anger.

          I didn’t hold back. But I kept it hidden because if I was headed for hell, I didn’t want my children to see and to learn of that dark road from their mother. Within my heart I faced God in all my ugliness; even Adam and Eve had the sense to search for leaves to cover their nakedness. I couldn’t be bothered. I didn’t try to be what I wasn’t and probably never will.

          And I told God so. I don’t have the faith for this blow You’ve dealt me, I told Him bitterly.

          At that moment, I recalled this from In Sinu Jesu,

When you come before Me and wait upon Me in silence, you are, in effect, allowing Me, when I choose and in the way I choose, to wound you…

Expect Me, then, to speak to you, to console you, and to enlighten you…

          My anger was so cold and deep that I didn’t want God’s consolation. Nevertheless, I turned to Him in my heart, saying, Console not me, but my child. I was so far away from God to be able to accept His consolation, but I knew my child needed it and I hadn’t the power to give it.

          I then went to comfort my sobbing child. Faced with such depth of young heartbreak  and disappointment, I demanded, Give me the words for my child. Tell us why this had to happen.

          The plea had barely left my heart when my eyes were taken to a small bookmark pinned to the wall.

I have fought the good fight,

I have finished the race,

I have kept the faith.        ~      2 Timothy 4:7

          I had never been aware of that bookmark. I didn’t even need to ponder the familiar words. The moment my eyes fell upon them, their meaning for the sadness silvered into my heart.

          There had been two races that day. One that we all saw and watched.

          And there was another – hidden from physical sight, where God was the judge of the race of heart, will and all things hidden from human eyes.

          My child had failed in the first race.

          But in the eyes of God, my child was victor in the race that mattered the most – the hidden one.

 

 

 

 

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