Helpless (When Faith Trembles)

helpless trembling faith risk christian life woman with hands over face

Helpless. The word rose up out of my mind and offered itself to me in the middle of a dark night. I held a feverish child in my arms, watched his labored breathing, imagined the flickering candle of his precious little life before my eyes. My mind traveled farther than I meant it to go, and left me considering my own mortality and the mortality of these beautiful ones who have been so lovingly stitched into the most secret places of my heart.

Even in the time-suspended, wide-eyed-panic of the moment, I knew the word was a lie. I knew that in life and death, in sickness and health, in understanding and mystery, I was held in the hands of God. That there is life beyond life. That there is no separating what God has joined together. I didn’t feel it. But I knew it.

I lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Faith wants to be big enough to say yes to anything God would ask of me. It pushes me up against the hardest places and searches for an opening that I can move through. But sometimes, faith isn’t big enough to walk through walls. It can only say, with trembling hands,

God, you have to show me what to do next.

And he does. And you do it. And the dawn breaks. And you move into a new day, different.

In the night, the waves crash loudly against the shore. The sea goes on forever, the brokenness of man echoed over and over in the deep, mournful song it sings.

Faith wants to be big enough to say yes to anything God would ask of me. It pushes me under, wave by wave, searching for a tide that can lift me up onto my feet. But sometimes, faith isn’t big enough to walk on water. It can only say, with trembling heart,

God, you have to show me what to do next.

And he does. And you do it. And the dawn breaks. And you move into a new day, different.

I lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Life is hard. We are living in a broken world where it sometimes feels too risky to love deeply. There is so much to lose.

When my faith trembles, when fear would threaten my total paralysis and regret would strike me deaf and dumb, I wrap myself up in the tender words of Christ. “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” And I remind myself, everything I truly have is eternally secure. In life, I have already lost it all. I have already given my life over to Christ, who is in control and assumes all risk. I am not meant to carry the weight of the world. I am simply walking, hand in hand, with my Savior. Without fear, without regret, with gratitude and one sincere prayer always upon my lips:

God, please show me what to do next.

And he does. And I do it. And the dawn breaks into the day where his mercies are ever-new. And I live and breathe and have my being in the One who is making this broken world right.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills–
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand
The sun shall not strike you by day
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.


(Psalm 121)

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sparrow says:

    So good. So real.

    1. Thank you so much, Michelle. Love you.

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