With the weight of a move to another state fresh on the brain, I’ve spent a lot of time wrestling with anxieties and evaluating what’s really important in my life. I’ve yelled at God for 20 minutes in the car—and I don’t mean that as a metaphor or catchy illustration. Like actually waved my arms and screamed and questioned the Lord’s plan and the goodness of his promises and then repented an hour later.
I’ve come to a fork in the road in my life, been pushed to the point of breaking, and experienced devastating highs and humbling lows. But as my friend Adam told me, this isn’t about the fork of making one of two possible decisions—it’s about the fork in my heart, whether or not I’m willing to continue trusting and worshipping when it feels like my small world is caving in.
Here’s a startling lesson I’m struggling to learn amid the stress of interviews and six-hour drives and houses to rent and sell and a billion other things to take care of: God cares more about the worship of my heart in the middle of all that than he does about what I actually decide to do. Staying or going, he cares about how I trust him along either path. And that’s breathtakingly hard for me to fathom.
But, in God’s always-showing-up faithfulness, I had some help the other night. I was talking to Davin’s widow, Lauren, about May of 2011, when Davin had just returned to Louisville from Idaho, having dropped off a car load of stuff in preparation for their new life there. A few days before their final departure Davin went to his doctor because he wasn’t feeling well. Shortly after that doctors were prepping he and Lauren for chemotherapy.
Their journey was met by the most unexpected news, a cancer that would ground their plans of a move and would, in about a year’s time, end in Davin’s death. There are a few lessons I took from the conversation.
First, in one word, it’s perspective. Davin’s story forces you and me to focus on the eternal perspective that is always present but rarely seen. Whatever we’re going through, it’s not that big compared to eternity. Yeah, I’m freaking out because I don’t yet have a place to live, but it’s not as big as cancer or dying or going to be with Jesus. Davin learned how to die well for Christ; surely I can learn to glorify him in so much less.
Second, there’s no circumstance I can face as a Christian in which God won’t be right there with me, giving me strength to endure and carry on. Lauren told me that before Davin was diagnosed she always thought, I wouldn’t know what to do if that happened to me. Her words are a comfort to me even now.
“People sometimes say that I’m stronger, but I’m not. I never thought I could go through something like this, but when it happens you don’t have time to think about that, you just keep moving forward and God meets you there. When you’re put in a situation you didn’t expect, you just keep going on. There’s only one other way to go other than to grow and keep living, and that’s not going to make life any easier. You just have to keep living. And when you get to that point, God gives you everything you need each day.”
It reminded me of what Christian Bale’s character said in Rescue Dawn after surviving years in POW camps and the jungle, seeing friends die and eating maggoty rice to survive, when asked how he made it: “Empty what is full. Fill what is empty. Scratch what itches.”
In other words, you just have to break it down into today’s little baby steps. What do I have to do, right this very minute, to keep living? What’s the next task? Don’t over think it, don’t over emotionalize it, just press on. Just keep living. God will give you what you need for today.