Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

The Toughest Time

I may not know my own heart. I may be unqualified to say what I’m about to say. When it comes to comparing struggles with many others I know of, I’m a lightweight. My pain threshold is low…very low. It doesn’t take a lot to throw me into a funk. But I’ve had some serious struggles in my life. I’ve known sustained personal defeat. I’ve let others down. I’ve felt the keen edge of betrayal’s knife in my back. I know what it’s like to be unable to eat, unable to sleep and unable to feel that anything would ever be okay again. But for all that…the very toughest time for me…is when someone I care about is up against it. They are enduring real pain. They can hardly find words to express what’s going on inside them. They need my help. They need me. They express that fact. But there’s nothing I can do to fix it for them. I tell you, I flat out hate times like that. I am beyond grateful that they express their pain to me. Nothing I’m saying here is meant to keep them from doing that…not ever. I want to be brought in on their lives in joy or sorrow. I want to know their needs. But, I also want to do something when I can’t really do much of anything. I can listen. But it feels like so little. I can pray (and I do) but even that leaves me feeling almost useless. I had rather crawl back into my worst time ever of personal torment than to be unable to fix it for those I love and hold most dear. I die inside.

But as much as I hate this toughest of all times in life, I’ve noticed something. It’s precisely at such times, when I turn to my Father with empty hands, with absolutely no plans, no answers…it’s then I lean so completely on Him. This isn’t exactly noble of me…it’s just that at such times, I realize that not only can I not do it all…I can’t do anything!

What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “The Toughest Time

  1. My helplessness always pushes me towards God. Like you, I have had to sit by my friend’s side as she or he dealt with horrible things that I could not fix. Not only could I not fix it … I really couldn’t even say anything to help. I’ve learned that in times like this it’s best to just sit with them … just another’s presence can be a comfort.

    I have a friend that lost her 25 year old son about a week ago. I haven’t spoken to her since her mother died a year ago. We don’t keep in touch very well. So when another friend called to tell me of the tragedy … I felt myself hesitate. I couldn’t call … I didn’t know what to say. I said prayer after prayer and sent a plant to the memorial. But I still haven’t called. I just don’t know what to say. I’m letting my sense of discomfort keep me from reaching out. I kept saying I would wait until things settled down for her, and then I’d call. But the truth is that I’m avoiding it.

    I’ve read this post several times. After reading it again today I’m convinced that I need to make that call. It’s not about me … it’s about a heart that is broken. I can’t become frustrated with my inability to help when I’m not willing to at least reach out and do what I can.

    Thanks for the reminder and the comfort of knowing that I’m not alone when faced with this type of helplessness.

    • oakesclan on said:

      I hope you were able to make the call. I know your friend was blessed by your heart for her. And I understand how such a terrible tragedy would tend to freeze you…put the fear in you that you might somehow make it worse.
      My most recent experience of such helplessness came right out of the blue. It surprised me and turned me every which way but loose. I had the almost uncontrollable urge to get in the car and drive for several hours to be there for the one I so wanted to help. But, for several reasons, I couldn’t do that. That feeling worked my case. But I’ve felt it before…and this time I was a bit better prepared to leave God room to work. I would still have gone, even days later, but by then God had graciously done what I couldn’t. And He did it so well. I know now that had I gone pell mell into the situation, I might well have made it worse. So I am more convinced today that my limits should cause me to quickly lean on His abilities. Tough lesson to learn…especially when your heart is beating like it will burst out of your chest.
      God bless you, Paige. It does my old heart good to know a bit of what you go thru to try to be a help to others. I pray the school year goes well and that your little charges are growing in ways you are able to see and be encouraged by. I know they are blessed to have you among them. My love to all the folks at the Open.

  2. Geniece Chidester on said:

    Sometimes listening and praying is exactly what is needed. As humans we like to be in control, letting that control go, giving it over to Him is all we have for some problems because they are too big for us. You have such a big heart Doug, you are such a good friend, we all know how much you care and that is a precious gift. God has blessed you and by doing so has blessed us all.

    • oakesclan on said:

      Geniece,
      Our Father God is always, without exception, going to do what is right…what is best…what is most needed. In my better moments I understand that…at least on one level. But in my panic, I tend to think first about what I’m going to do…what I need to do…and that I need to do something fast. More and more, He’s been teaching me to wait for Him…to give place and time for what He will do. I’ve learned that sometimes inaction is not cowardly or faithless. Sometimes it is the epitome of faith. Sometimes it takes great faith to be still and know that He is God. I’m praying for you and for me to come to understand that better…to have the wisdom to know when to do something and when to wait.

      Thank you for your encouraging words to me. I don’t know about having a “big” heart. Sometimes it feels pitifully weak and small. But, if I know my own heart at all, I believe it’s for Him and for all those He holds dear. God bless you in this extended time of difficulty and pressure.

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