“I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” Hab. 2:1
“Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” I Sam 14:6b
Here I stand on the ramparts… hmmm…
Last night, while praying, I came to a new conclusion about how to live my life in this time: ikitsuzukeru. I don’t know if that actually works in Japanese or not, but I think it translates to, “Keep living.” I’ve decided to pass into survival mode. The emotional burden on my heart of lonliness and despair is too great at this time to do anything else. I must live one day at a time and not worry about the next. Yes, I suppose that some minimal planning must take place, but in principle and in heart, I live one day at a time. I do not have strength to do more.
Ministry is a fine thing to focus on, I suppose, but not now. Learning Japanese was a major goal for the next two years, until I realized that surviving was a more important one. And so I set the preassure of those things aside and realize that even if I spend less time in the study of Japanese or have to forego some appointment or another, so be it, for I must continue to live. I must find my strength in God for whatever the day holds. And in doing so, I believe that I will study harder and work harder than if the work and study themselves were my prize.
Truly, this is a very dark season. Emotionally, it is one of the darkest I have endured thus far. I do not feel very distant from God as I have at times, but an overwhelming weight presses me. So, every morning, I will go to Christ in prayer and seek Him in His word, drink from the brook, as it were, or eat the widow’s bread, and I will gather strength for the day. I will not think of the days to come: let each day worry about itself. I do not have the strength to bear those burdens. No one does. Only One has that strength, and He shall, but I cannot. Each night, I shall come to Him again, briefly, exhausted from the trials of the day, but knowing that my struggles have ended. The next day, if I awake without strength to face the trials ahead, I will drink once more from the brook and eat once more of the widow’s bread.
Today was my first day of this, and I believe the course is wise. As I awoke today, a heavy burden of despair was pressing on my chest from the moment my eyes opened, and it slowed my every step. After breakfast I was finally able to come to God and receive my daily portion of grace, just enough for today, and the burden was lifted. Today was a good day, though from time to time thoughts arose of things I must do or of the path ahead, but those are not questions of today, so I have no need to ponder them.
This time is not forever. I do not plan to live like this until I leave Japan (I must step into greater ministry roles when I can). However, for now, it is how I must live if this great trial is to be endured. Endurance. Long-suffering. Hope. Faith. These are the virtues I must arm myself with at this time.
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Prov. 3:11-12
He is making me into the man who shall minister before Him here. That is more important than anything now, more important than my comfort, for certain. This must happen if I am to serve Him here. “Deliver,” is about as simple a prayer as one can pray, and oft of late have I prayed it.
So I look with hope as lightning flashes on the edge of the horizon through my window, still too far off for its echoing thunder to be heard. But it flies on clouds across the sea and will arrive here, without fail. So do I stand and wait. The promises of the scriptures are too clear for me to doubt that He who rides on the clouds will deliver those who fear Him. That He splits the heavens to come and rescue me. The Israelites were delivered from Egypt too marvelously, their children from too many armies, David from too many perils, and the kings far too often for me to doubt that. Too many blind were healed and dead were raised for me to doubt that He will come, like the rising sun or the spring rains, for the sake of those who fear him. For my sake.
And yet, perhaps a long wait lies before me. And so I wait it daily, for that is all the strength I have.