Sometimes this faith journey is just about hanging on.
Yesterday I was on a much needed bike ride, on a rare warm February day in Nebraska. As I crossed a railroad bridge, my mind flashed back to this place my friends and I would venture to during our teen years.
There was a long, old railroad bridge that crossed the Platte River. We would climb to the outside of the metal section of the bridge, and when trains would go by we would hang on. It was quite a rush. That entire old bridge would shake and we would hang on, literally with our fingertips, with all the strength we could muster. If the shaking was too great, the only danger was falling a few feet into the river, although our accounts of the adventure claimed that we were at risk of a much higher fall.
That is often what the journey of faith is like. Sometimes, it is just about hanging on. I have been close to a few couples lately who have been down the heart breaking road of infertility. One of those couples, after years of trying, and after walking through so many disappointments and heartbreaks, finally saw that miracle arrive. I know the last few years have been tough for them. Lots of questions and understandable struggle. Many times they were just hanging on.
I remember another couple I heard about who had waited years for a child. After their daughter was finally born, complications set in and they lost her. The answered prayer became much more painful than the unanswered prayer ever was. What do you do with that?
It is hard to know what to say, or what to do in situations like that. There are just no words for it. With all that life can throw at us, sometimes we really are just hanging on. I have had a few of those moments—well, really longer than moments, more like seasons over the last few years where I was just hanging on in the faith journey. So many questions… and during those times God has seemed so silent and detached. And I wonder why? Why does it have to be that way? Why so often does it feel like he leaves us hanging?
I will write about some on those in the next few weeks. For now, I am going to head back out on the bike and find that bridge again. Yesterday was a great reminder that sometimes you just have to hang on.