I stand in the middle of a storm. Winds are blowing all around me. There are trees and debris flying everywhere. I have no protection from the stabs and jabs these items cause. They slash my skin. They hurt and attack me.
As every piece of clothing is removed, there is no protection from the storm. Then I look up and cry out to God, but I try to hold onto every shred of dignity and clothing I can. But trying to hold onto those shreds causes storm hurts me more. They are ripped out of my hands. Then I really cry out to God. I have nothing less to try and rely on. There is no safety around. I can’t see through the storm. All I see is the grey of the wind and rain. It is terrifying. “God, help! I have nothing but you to help me! Help!” And with that heartfelt plea, there is suddenly a space between me and the storm. No longer can the wind and rain touch me. No longer can the debris cut my skin and cause me to bleed. The storm is so close but it is not able to reach me. Finally, I can catch my breath. Finally, I can assess what is going on around me. I still don’t know where to go, I still don’t know what to do. But at least I am not in pain.
And with that reprieve comes the thought to find a way out of the storm. I take a step forward in a random direction. However, this causes me to leave the safe area God gave me. With that step I am again lashed with branches and bruised with stones. When realization dawns on me that I have tried to take back control I run back to that safe area. It is still there, God didn’t leave me, I left Him.
Gasping again, clutching at myself I take time to think. I take time to enjoy the peace of my little column of safety. I look to the heaves and say, “where next?” A space to my right opens and I step into it. The space behind me closes up. And with that closing a space ahead of me opens and I step into it. And slowly I am maneuvered. Slowly I cover distance.
I am tired. I don’t want to keep going on. I can’t sit in the column, I can’t truly rest, there isn’t enough room. To my right I see a rock. It is only a few steps away. I could easily sit on that. I could take a break. Without really thinking I start towards the rock. My exhausted, tired steps lead me to the rock. And suddenly I am embraced by the storm. Suddenly pain blossoms around me. Suddenly I am being whipped with thorns, I am standing on ground made of broken glass. I am in pain and agony. I cry out “why me? Why am I stuck in this storm? I want out!” I crawl back to the cylinder of God’s peace. I ask for God to give me some rest. And for a time the cylinder doesn’t progress forward. For a time, I can stay where I am.
And after a brief time, a space ahead of me opens up and I crawl towards it. And the pattern begins again. When I cry out for needing something, it appears. It may not be in any manner I thought it would be, but it is there. And for that I am so grateful. It may be a kind word, it may be a surprise gift, it may be good news, it may be friendship or companionship. And for however long or short the blessing is present, it is exactly what is needed for that minute. I may not understand all the gifts I have. I may not understand why certain blessings have appeared. But I cherish them. They are a blessing from God and God knows what is best. And on that I will rest.
I still don’t know where this path will lead. I just know that when I try to do what I think is best, I am lashed anew. I am in pain and despair again. There is safety in God’s embrace. There is hope in that hug. There is hope in knowing that I don’t have to choose beyond staying in that path. There is still things out in the storm that are tempting. And occasionally I reach out only to be reminded that God has the best for me and I shouldn’t venture outside of His protection. God knows where this path leads. Me, I have no idea where any of my path leads at this point. I have control only in that I can choose to let Him do what He sees best or I can choose to go out into that storm. I choose to stay in His plan. There really is no other option for me. I know I will try to take control back in the future and will be reminded that it isn’t a good idea. I know I will grumble at being in the middle the storm. But for the time right now, it is where I am meant to be. For right now, this is the right place.