Do you ever feel like God’s punching bag? I do. I’ve felt like that for most of my life, now that I think about it. Whenever I step out on faith, I find holes in the floor. I’ve fallen so many times that standing at all sometimes feels like valor, much less taking another step. But I keep on, out of stubbornness sometimes more than anything as noble as faith or hope, thinking that somewhere down the line, somehow this is going to make sense. Somehow all these trips and falls and bloodied knuckles are going to achieve something one day, right? One day I’m going to follow where he leads me, and it’s going to be somewhere other than off a cliff, right?
The past couple of months, a lot of things in my life seemed to turn around. I felt like for the first time in years, I could hear God’s voice loud and clear. The bruises of the past healed and I started walking by faith again, venturing into places I’d never gone before, doing things I’d never do on my own without the direction of the Holy Spirit. I took every step in prayer. Shut my eyes, Lord, so that I will not see the things I want. Place my feet, Lord, on the path you have set for me. And he did, and amazing things happened. I was happier than I have ever been. I was content, at peace, secure in the knowledge that my steps were not my own. Until, the path took me over the edge of the cliff again and unlike those kids in the Sigur Ros video, I didn’t fly. Everything changed, without any reason or explanation, I fell.
Now again, my legs shake when I try to stand. Why should I follow a God that seems to take pleasure in seeing me fail? The rational side of me says that there’s a reason for all this even though I can’t see it yet. But the emotional side of me just wants to scream and rage and curse the day I followed him at all.
How are we supposed to learn when we can’t see the resolution? The only lesson I can ever seem to find is that it’s better not to trust at all. How many times can a person follow in faith when those steps so often lead to heartbreak. How do you maintain hope when all evidence suggests it’s folly? That’s the definition of hope, I’m aware, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
I don’t have any answers here. I just want to learn the lessons he’s trying to teach me. So why won’t he show me what the lesson is? I’m tired of falling. And I don’t want to be, but right now, I’m tired of following.
Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he’s the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.