I would LOVE to say that I wrote this, for I have in fact had these very thoughts. However, someone beat me to the keyboard, and penned them first. It is my heart all the same.
“This will result in your being a witness to them.” Luke 21:13
Life is a steep climb, and it is always encouraging to have those ahead of us “call back” and cheerfully summon us to higher ground. We call climb together, so we should help one another. The mountain climbing of life is serious, but glorious business; it takes strength and steadiness to reach the summit. And as our view becomes better as we gain altitude, and as we discover things of importance, we should “call back” our encouragement to others.
If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back—
It will cheer your heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perhaps, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn;
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the lofty air was still.
O friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet sprint in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.But if you’ll say He hears you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky—
If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back—
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.
I have gone back and forth on the argument that we were “created for fellowship.” I am highly skeptical that the God of the Universe, who is perfect in and of Himself, got lonely one day and said “I’ll create humans to keep my company.” However, once He saw that Adam was insufficient by himself, it is clear to see that Gos did create another, woman, for fellowship.
I have never been one to enjoy solitude. I don’t like being by myself. It’s quiet. Still. And often, disconcerting. (It is only disconcerting at night because…. I am still afraid of the dark.) I have found that it can often feel the same in some places and seasons of our spiritual journey.
It has been in the valleys, those desert trudges, that the only solace and comfort I found often lay in the testimony of another who had walked where I then sat. If it were not for fellowship in those times of intense and almost paralyzing loneliness; if it were not for the insight and perspective of someone who had forged the same trail and come out on the other side alive, my doubt, my fear, guilt and shame, I believe, might have overtaken me. In the same way that weary wanderers see mirages and hallucinate in the desert, I took began to see false images and believe the lies of the enemy.
But praise the LORD! I was never alone. In fact, I was surrounded by friends and even family that had seen such darkness; experienced such seasons. But it is only because of this that comfort and encouragement could be had: Confession. It is only when, in desperate humility, one allows their prideful walls to fall and exposes their weakness that strengthening can come.
Ironic, isn’t it. It is a beautiful mystery that absolutely captivates me. I wonder what the Church could be, what the Bride of Christ would look like, if we simply let our hair down and openly admitted to our stuggles. I have a feeling that a radiant beauty would emerge that would penetrate every heart and every mind, unbeliever and saved alike. Because at the end of the day, if the unbeliever doesn’t confess and the believer doesn’t confess… what difference can we possibly make?
Matt Chandler, the head pastor at the Village Church in Dallas, says it this way: “It’s ok to not be ok.” The first time I heard that, I felt as though he were speaking to me (via podcast). I felt a freedom, liberation, and peace that I had not known before that time.
The second part of that statement says this: “But it’s not ok to stay there.” And we won’t stay there, if we know that someone else overcame.
So if you’re ok. Great.
If you’re not ok. Great.
Whichever you are, keep walking forward, but call back.