When I was five, my best friend locked the two of us in the trunk of his dad’s car. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why the heck would he do that, right?
Good question. I still wonder about it, myself. If memory serves me correctly, we were pretending as kids often do. Our story involved being kidnapped by an awful person who threw us into the trunk of his car.
Of course, we had to climb into a trunk for effect. My friend didn’t intend to for it to latch, but it did.
Wonder why I’m still claustrophobic? Yeah, that’s the reason.
My friend and I were not big kids but that trunk was cramped. It was dark. The air was musty.
But do you know what I still remember? The little streak of light that shined through the crack in the door. It was bright. It illuminated the small space and we could see outside.
We could see neighbors riding by on their bikes. We could see the driveway and the trees.
This little pencil beam of light gave hope we would be found. It made me believe I wouldn’t take my last breath cursing my friend who decided this was a good idea.
We weren’t sure if anyone could hear us, but we called out for help. When someone didn’t come the first time, we continued yelling.
The past few months, I’ve felt like that little girl all over again.
I see the little streak of light and I’m calling. And even when the answer doesn’t come I keep lifting my voice.
Last Sunday I was putting on make-up, getting ready for church and I told my husband how I felt: overwhelmed. Like I’m wading through quicksand and I can’t seem to get a good foundation underneath me. Everyday tasks like getting the kids to the bus stop are more difficult than usual, not to mention the big projects that seem larger than life.
But the most frustrating part of it all is spiritual. When I come to God, my prayers feel sluggish. Like I’m fumbling through the dark, trying to find my way.
When I’m going through these times I love to read the Psalms because David didn’t hold anything back. He put it all out there, crying out to God with his soul deep needs.
One of my all-time favorites is Psalm 40. It starts with David doing something we followers of Christ loathe. Waiting. Waiting patiently for the Lord.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
We aren’t patient people, are we? We want God to sweep us out of the pit right now and give us the answer to the prayer, desire or need.
But God is refining us. We are being pressed from every side but we don’t despair.
The crushed vessel still shines because of what’s inside of it: Christ.
It shines because the Spirit inside keeps calling out. Abba, Father.
That little streak of light I see? It’s the things I know about God. The aspects of his character I hold onto. His faithfulness, his perfect, unchanging love, and the many times he’s delivered me in the past.
We are not orphans, friends. God hasn’t abandoned you or forgotten you. You are his daughter, and he stands in the fire with you.
There is nothing you are walking through that he hasn’t already delivered you from.
My friend and I? Someone heard us. After a few minutes his dad came out looking and saved us from the imaginary kidnapper.
Just like David, our persistent cries brought an answer. They brought relief and comfort.
No matter how distant God seems today, keep crying out. No matter how grim your situation seems, keep coming to him.
If you can’t see the pencil streak of light, grab a hold of another believer’s hand and simply say his name. The answer will come.
I can guarantee it.