Here I sit, on the other side of a Great Disappointment. It knocked the wind out of me. For weeks I have been trying to find words, but they have evaded me.
As a verbal processor, I think best out loud, or at least on page. The act of writing liberates captive thoughts, gives them shape, gives me wings. I write to survive. But in this new valley I lack the courage to speak, and therefore to think. I walk alone with Jesus in the mind-numbing stillness of loss. I wake to it, sorry that night has ended. I fall asleep to it, wishing it were not so. I wonder -- what now? -- not sure I dare to hope.
And I wait.
And I listen.
In my wordless waiting, others speak. I have not met them, but their songs fill my languid hours with prayers, articulating what I cannot.
I am trying to understand
how to walk this weary land.
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
O Lord, before these feet of mine.
When my world is shaking,
When my heart is breaking,
I never leave your hands.*
I'm not who I was when I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise you're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will go through fire if you want me to**
I still believe in your faithfulness ...
Even when I don't see, I still believe ...
In brokenness I can see that this was your will for me***
You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of the dust.****
In their voices I hear traces of suffering, and I realize that I am not alone. God will redeem this loss. Brokenness deepens rather than disqualifies us, especially when we share our journey with others. The refreshing honesty of these songs and many others calls to me.
And so I write.
* JJ Heller
****Michael and Lisa Gungor
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
when words flee
Dr. Carmen Imes is the Associate Professor of Old Testament at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta, and serves the broader church through teaching, speaking, and writing. She earned a PhD in Biblical Theology (Old Testament) from Wheaton College under Dr. Daniel Block, an MA in Biblical Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a BA in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. She and her husband, Danny, served as missionaries with SIM 15 years. They have three children: Ana, Emma, and Easton.