To say we’re experiencing a storm as a family right now is a giant understatement. It feels closer to a hurricane that throws some lightning bolts and a tornado or two out of no where from time to time.
I’m not going to use this space to vent, or to over-detail – because I know our situation isn’t unique. But, in a quick overview, our last 2 months have included 2 kids with COVID, emotional family visits, 5 kids with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, 3 kids with pink eye, and – just for fun – some strep throat thrown in that included projectile vomiting. This week though brought an extra shake up, with my father being admitted to the ICU with COVID, uncovering a slew of underlying concerns.
I’m not an overly emotional person, and we don’t have many answer right now. So, instead of reacting, I’ve found myself spacing out a lot, finding information to take whatever the best next steps might be or, sometimes, THE next step. I’ve felt disorganized more than discouraged to be honest… and sometimes just more breathless than focused.
And yet (I find myself writing those two words a lot – maybe too frequently – but, as a believer in Jesus, that “and yet” is so much more than a filler, it’s the breath my body has been craving)…
And yet: we are not crushed.
My lack of “crushed” sometimes looks funny as my friends wait for the break… sometimes maybe it even looks “removed.” Sometimes a break down is what’s more logical, what would make the most sense. Sometimes I even find myself waiting for the dam to break.
But. Here we (my family and I) are. Taking what feels like hit after hit and holding on to hope in a way we haven’t had to before.
It’s not an emotional blunting.
It’s not hiding or pretending all is fine: I’m happy to share our mess.
It’s just forward motion in a time where that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Yes. We’re tired. Yes, we’re shocked every time something else hits the fan. But, move forward we do.
Lately, I’ve started wondering why… not the “why is this happening,” why – I stopped asking that years ago.
It’s more of a “why isn’t it all breaking as the fissures and cracks continue to grow, spider, and expand?
And that led me to this: God’s steadfastness.
God’s steadfast love is mentioned 196 times in the ESV Old Testament alone. As I reflect on the verses I memorized as a child, or the hymns and worship songs I’ve sung my whole life, words like “steadfast” and “enduring” come up a lot.
Until recently, though, I’m not sure I paid much attention to them.
See, I’m good at fearing God. I’m good at understanding the fact that he has a plan I may or may not understand and that HIS ultimate plan is eternal and good.
Steadfast though? I’ve breezed right past it… until our hurricane-tornado-lightning storm.
Steadfast: Grasping It
The dictionary tells us steadfast is defined as “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.”
We like to think we live in a world of certainty. We hold on to things, people, and experiences, searching for exactly what “steadfast” is: something steady and sure.
But, here’s the thing: if we are searching for steadiness in this world, we won’t find it. Not without God.
The Bible tells us it has everything we need to learn about God, his story, the salvation he offers, and who he is. We also know that repetition – in conversation, in literature, and especially in the Bible – means we ought to pay attention.
The word “steadfast” being used 196 times in the Old Testament alone isn’t because it’s pretty or poetic or flowy: it’s because it’s highly relevant to our lives. It’s highly relevant to who God is.
It’s Why Dams Don’t Break
Understanding this, starting with the word coming to my heart as I was on a walk one morning and diving in when I came home, is when things started making sense during a time that nothing seems logical.
We are moving forward because of God’s grace and his steadfastness alone. Not because of internal strength. Not because of a secret we have that no one else does. Not because of any part of our lives being “together” (I’m happy to share how not together we are. The ugly shows a lot more frequently than I wish sometimes).
Our dam doesn’t break because we didn’t build it at all. In a time where we’re all told that we should build the futures we want, that we should chase what we think matters, and that it’s all on our shoulders… our dam was built by God, a steadfast builder with eternity in his hands… and I’m so glad that’s the case. Because he built it, it means that today, he’s holding it together… we don’t have to.
Today, the word “steadfast” means more to me than ever before.
Today, it makes sense in a time that nothing else does.
I’m not sure what you’re facing today, but I bet if not a total hurricane (which it might be), there’s at least a rain shower somewhere on your radar. Whatever it is, I want to leave you with this verse:
Deuteronomy 7:9 says: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.
The storms might not go away ever. They aren’t to be ignored, or numbed, or overlooked. They aren’t without pain: sometimes, deep, heart-scarring pain.
And yet… (see?)
We can stand in them. We can face forward knowing the only truly steadfast thing in existence, the author of eternity, can hold the heavy so we can take the waves and stay afloat.
I hope this brings you comfort today. When it feels too heavy to hold, breathe deep and remember: God. Is. Steadfast. Whether any single thing around you makes sense or not, he – and his love – will not change.
Steadfastness is more than a flowy word that sounds good when we sing it. It’s a fact that changes everything.
Keep breathing and hang on tight, friend. There is goodness and promise in the heavy. Take heart, today.
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