When I Am Afraid I’m depending Too Much on Others
(This is the first is a series of posts entitled “No Easy Answers” which will also be included in the Memoir I am writing for my family.
Psalm 77 has long been one of my favorite Psalms. Opening with a desperate cry to God for help, the writer pleads to be heard. Losing hope, he wonders “How long, Lord, how long.” Finding comfort elusive, in desperation he says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD: I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty acts.”
Hope returns. He is comforted. The chapter that began with lament turns to a psalm of praise – for God’s leading, his protection and guidance.
I have found comfort in this Psalm over the years. I have believed the truth of remembering. To remember we need to record God’s activity in our daily lives. I did this. I taught others to do the same.
So why didn’t it work for me anymore – to “remember the deeds of the Lord” and then praise him as I remembered. The changes and challenges seemed too hard, too big. And by this time I knew things don’t always “work out” – whatever that meant. (By the way, please don’t say “it will work out” to those walking in the dark; it minimizes the grief and pain they are experiencing.)
I wished for more faith, felt guilty I didn’t seem to have it. I leaned hard on my friends. They prayed when I couldn’t. They believed for me when I didn’t. They hugged me when I was sad, while encouraging me to embrace the grief and not run from it. My younger pastor friend, who was the age of my brother read everything I wrote, encouraging me to share my story with others and offered to let me be his sister. (I forthwith adopted him). Others made me feel special when I was so unsure of myself by the encouraging words they spoke. One had lost her brother and I knew she knew. They offered no easy answers, because there were none.
They were God to me – God with skin. Yet the question remained, why couldn’t I remember what God had done for me in the past and have it be enough?
And then I noticed the last verse. I had read it many times before, but I saw something new:
“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron”
God led them. He did great deeds.
And . .
God’s leading included the people he sent to them.
Suddenly it all fell into place. Instead of feeling shame at the niggling thought I should have been more faith-filled, not so dependent on others, I read with gratefulness this reminder – even thousands of years ago, using people was one of God’s ways of meeting the needs of his people.
We are not meant to walk this faith journey alone. We need each other. We bear one another’s burdens. Neuroscience has proven we are wired (created) for relationships, for connection with others.
When we remember what God has done and it doesn’t seem enough, let us remember the “deeds of the Lord” include the resources he has given us and often those resources include people.