Tears began to well up from within as I plodded along the gravel path. With each step I took I could feel intense pain penetrating the soles of my feet. But, it paled in comparison to the pain caused by the hole in my heart.
In a huff I paused on the trail, I marveled at my stupidity – as more and more people passed by, I realized they did too.
I had left the house in a rush after begging the babysitter for a break. The grief induced anger was getting the best of me and I desperately needed a breather. I set out driving north. I had visions of downing my sorrows in a bottle of wine and passing out in some unknown hotel. I longed to disappear, if only for a day.
I had no idea where I was going, but found my path blocked by road construction. Since I didn’t have time or extra money to pay the babysitter, I turned around. I had some forgetting to attend to and was anxious to get started.
I found myself at a trail-head above the lake. That’s when I realized I had left my walking shoes at home. There was no way I was going to let that stop me, so I ripped off my sandals and set out to conquer the steep incline. With every step I took, my anger was heightened. It wasn’t just anger, it was entitlement. I battled with the Lord.
“Why me God?”
“Why my husband?”
“Where are you and why don’t you care?”
“I hate this!”
“I don’t deserve this!”
I continued. Each step was angry and fierce and clearly a reflection of my pain. Plod, tear, anger, pain, frustration, entitlement, keep moving forward – you have no choice. There was no escaping my emotions. They encompassed every part of my being. Something had to give – somehow, some way, I was determined it would.
My entitlement was overwhelming. I expected the Lord to deliver me from my pain, but I didn’t want to work for it. My assumption was that after all I’d been through, I was deserving of at least some relief.
And then it hit me. The Lord was never against me. He had been for me the whole time. But, the biggest shocker was how desperately His heart ached as a result of my circumstance. I had a choice, would I allow him in or not? If my answer was yes, healing was just around the bend. If not, I could continue wallowing in my anger.
The real question was, did I really know Him? Did I fully grasp the depth of His character? Did I trust the promises written in His word?
In the midst of our trials, we so often forget how He boldly gives us permission to unload our burdens on Him.
He begs us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
I realized no one else could ever offer me as much. The question was, what was keeping me from accepting the rest He was so freely gifting me?
And then it emerged, a beautiful waterfall, a metaphor for the overflowing abundance of God’s love and mercy. The beauty was astounding. As I sat down at the water’s edge I begged Him to make me new again. I didn’t want to live like this anymore. I made the decision to allow him in.
My entitlement still gets the best of me sometimes. I think of those who made endless sacrifices for Pete and wonder why their lives are still burdened by trials. After all they’ve been through, aren’t they deserving of more? Where is their renewal? Where is their redemption? Their new beginning?
The reality is, we are entitled to nothing. Our God gave us the greatest gift when he died on that cross; the gift of salvation. Although I accepted that gift long ago, I’ve still continued acting like a spoiled child, carrying with me a steep sense of entitlement along with a long list of if-then, Lord’s. Never, before have I fully grasped the fact that I’ve been given everything, yet am deserving of nothing.
Yes, my husband died. No, he didn’t just die, he died a tragic death. Buried in my self-pity, I must not forget that the Lord is no stranger to suffering. He’s endured the worst, yet is still willing to carry our burdens when asked.
And in that realization I am in awe – I’m simply blown away.