On our Tennessee home front we are facing a couple situations of such a tenuous variety that I am not yet comfortable sharing them wide. Everyone is well. Everything is good, and we are thankful. But we are living in the tension of not knowing, in the reality of having not a shred of control.
This lack of control leads me to dissect every turn for clues as to how it all might unfold. One afternoon, in a moment of despair over what I thought was a situation devolving, a gift snatched away, a turn toward an end, I cried out for an answer, a sign or some hope. And then it hit me: I only have hope when it is reasonable; I only think the best when the moment calls for it. And if faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, then I don’t often have it. I want to protect myself from falls, from failures, from hoping in something that might not come to be. Not only is that the opposite of faith, it also doesn’t work.
When Peter saw the wind, “He was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:30-31)
Again, I shifted in my seat. I can trust when there are positive test results, interviews that go well, or encouraging feedback. I can be joyful and hopeful and believe when signs point my way. But when logic isn’t in my favor, when there is nothing tangible and promising to speak of, when there is silence, I cave. I fear. I lose faith.
Our pastor asked us to enter this story, to imagine longing for the relative safety of the boat. He asked us to name our figurative boats. Again, I sniffed— as if this were not a useful exercise to me. It occurred to me this reaction of mine is not uncommon. I thought back to that phrase “trust the process,” and realized immediately what my boat would be called.
Process. I want the assurance that things are going as they should, as they have for others. I want to be able to see forward, around corners, through storms. I want to be able to figure it out on my own.
So instead we are here. In the midst of uncertainty, we are tired. But we have renewed hope, regardless of the circumstance. We strive to live in the moment without becoming beholden to the ups, downs or silences in between.
If trusting the process works for you, I am happy (and a little envious). But if it doesn’t, why not try jumping out of the boat?