To ask is
And yet to deny ourselves the pursuit is inhumane.
He may never have need to show us.
We may never understand.
He may only require our perfect obedience.
His reasons are
'Unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor on in vain.'
Yet I am still unable to refrain from asking of the most High God:
I wait in silence. Such a place to be. Anguished quiet. Purposed stillness. Underwater. Holding my breath.
'Those who live without You surely die.'
Does He smite me from the Earth? Does He blot out my frame from the space of time? Do His cheeks flush red, hot with anger? Does the back of His hand raise above me with the shadow of His wrath upon my face?
'Ah, Sovereign Lord...nothing is too hard for you.'
Instead He shows me, in a way that a child can understand.
The painting is not finished.
He decides to tell me a little story.
A picture story.
About a little boat upon the sea, rocking to and fro, cradled in the glassy arms of waters undisturbed.
The wind is but a sigh upon our already cumbersome brows, and the sun is setting calm.
The Boatman plots our course to North, then West, South, then West, and back again North, hoping to find reprieve.
But we are upon the waves of the unforgiving, and rest will not come for the weary...not yet.
Prayers are lifted, but there is no breeze to carry them aloft to God. They seem to rise not even high enough to peek over the mast.
There is only darkness coming.
We beg for a breath from God, to fill the sails and carry us to dry ground, but it will not come. The cover of night fills our eyes, and only the stars give light.
But then, as if to offer hope, the water sparkles to life with plankton glowing green, as if some kind of fairy dust has been poured into the sea. Our journey takes on a magical note, and we all know there is an undertaking here beyond the physical, stretching now into the spiritual. The voyage carries an illustration, a teaching. Some stealthy message in a bottle, stolen away from our understanding. We are out upon the water and there is nothing to do but carry on. One of the oars is broken.
I ask if I can help, if I can do something, anything.
"You cannot. You will only turn us in circles. You aren't accustomed to this. You can just sit."
In my helpless mind we draw our letters upon this wet canvas. Cursive letters.
Hours waft by, and none of us in the little boat understand why the Boatman captains the way he does. 'Maybe he's lost his mind? Maybe the heat has overcome him? Maybe we are lost in this moonless night forever?
Minutes rise and fall with the stern...
How can a fisherman be lost, a man whose lived on these waters all his life, a man I've seen a hundred times come home late in the night from a long day's work, hauling in the catch?....WHY?
And then, when we cannot carry on, when there is no more within us, when we are empty of ourselves and given over completely, we hear waves crashing upon the shore!
9 hours upon this lesson of the heart, and our feet haul over the edge of the bow, plunging into the shallow water of the beach. Dry ground, oh the joy of it, is but a few inches further! Bones are weary and ready to fold. A minute later and a bed becomes our embrace as we give over to exhaustion and the close of such matters too trivial for me to comprehend upon the still rocking waves in my mind.
The next day I begin to search out the answers as I study the ocean from the shore.
I find that the fisherman's work, the pointing to and fro, was actually a classic maneuver, well recording in the books.
He was 'tacking', 'close-hauling', and a half dozen more nautical terms I'd never heard before, doing all he could to work with an opposing wind, using what little wind there was to pull us home, inch by inch.
The night before he was insane. A crazy, mysteriously quiet, tale to tell.
Today I see he was brilliant. He was purposed. He had reason. He had skill. He was gifted. Most importantly...He got us home.
I didn't understand 'Why' at that exact moment of my despair. I couldn't understand.
The story has been told. My heart soaks in interpretation.
From brokenness I can still hear Him.
I can still speak, though the bark is stripped away, and parts of me are laid bare in the wind and the sun. I can still find words on my tongue that give praise, because there sprouts within something new. Something not from me.
"If you are here, breathing, today...God is not finished with you yet." I say.
A heart is pricked. A breath is caught away. A soul is moved from a place of refuge, from a stronghold, into the open plain with the noonday Sun. From the dark comes one into the light.
And we yet may never understand.... 'why?'