We have all had them. Mountain-top moments. Times and seasons in your spiritual journey that are drunk with the presence of God. The Word is alive, beating, breathing, and bleeding the power, love, and truth of the gospel over your soul. Your life’s meaning becomes crystal clear.
Colors are brighter; fragrances more potent and alluring, nature is suddenly singing “Holy! Holy! Holy!” Fellowship is sweet, encouraging, and fruitful. Relationships bloom with the beauty of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Everything; all aspects of your life are completely and utterly in perfect unity.
Then, out of nowhere, and for some unexplainable and unapparent reason… it all ends. Abrupt. Unwarranted.
Suddenly, sunrises are no longer welcomed. Silence is preferred over singing. Being alone is more comfortable than being in the company of friends. Joy seems a distant memory. And despite all your efforts; you can’t reason your way out of it.
At least, that is the way it happened to me.
Senior year of college is somewhat of a blur, for multiple reasons. For starters, it went by much too quickly. The fact that it is over is baffling to me. Secondly, fall semester and spring semester were spiritually polar-opposites.
Fall semester was the mountain-top experience I described earlier. Everyday was bright whether the sun was out or not. Every time I opened my Bible it was as if God transcended the heavens to come and sit next to me, translating every word into a language that spoke with passion and purity to my heart. The semester flew by, easily and with little or no stress. Only bliss. Only happiness. Only fun.
Then something happened over Christmas break. I literally woke up one morning and realized… I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Worse still, I didn’t know who I was. I had an identity crisis.
The entire spring semester, right up until graduation day, was a long, fierce battle for my sanity. I felt my faith deteriorate at the speed of light. Questions that I had never asked before suddenly drowned me. People I had criticized in the past for their lack of understanding, I suddenly identified with.
To say that I “struggled” merely scratches the surface. I was overwhelmed to a point of confusion and sorrow that I had only heard about. I was distraught and anguish burned within me… I felt completely alone. Deserted. Forgotten.
How could what I had and who I thought I was disappear? Had I tricked myself into believing I was someone that I had never been? How could I have grown so disillusioned with reality? How could I become so desensitized to my spiritual state of being?
Looking back at what, thus far, has been one of the most stretching experiences of my faith walk yet, I can not help but smile. Perspective will do that; because I can see now what I could not then.
The lessons I learned I don’t plan on forgetting.
Lesson One: Turning to others will not get you anywhere.
I am a highly relational person. Being able to confide in and identify with someone, on some level, it critical to me. It should not be a surprise to you then that during this season, I felt as if I could not talk to anyone. How could I? I didn’t know what was wrong; I couldn’t explain my own feelings because they seemed to have no source. Who in their right mind could relate?
Lesson Two: Sometimes God doesn’t speak.
This was the hardest lesson by far. I came to find that there are some things that He is able to teach us that don’t need words. This too went against all my natural inclinations. How was I able to stay close to a God that wasn’t responding to my prayers? How could I follow after a God that wouldn’t allow me to hear His voice?
Lesson Three: He is faithful.
Such a simple statement. It seems to say so little, but it encompasses so much. In the midst of every emotion; at the end of every question…there He was. Steady. Stable. Sovereign.
When I finally felt myself give up; when I finally decided to accept that this Walk was not going to be easy and conceded failure, I suddenly felt completely enveloped in grace and cloaked in comfort. I felt life breathed into me again.
I had to learn to walk again. I had to learn to let go and trust that when I lost my balance, He would catch me. So, with every new step, He spoke to me what each struggle was, why He allowed it, and how He would use it for my good and His glory. Everything I felt and fought was purposed. Go figure.
I was never lost. I was never alone.
So bring on the peaks. I like to climb.
Bring on the valleys. I’ve learned to crawl.