If this is what is known as the empty nest syndrome, is there some way to get those independent, fine feathery chicks to fly back home? Is this part of ‘letting go’ and hoping that you trained them well? I suppose it is, but surely I do not have to like it. I am, after all, most certain the Apostle Paul did not like going to jail and yet, he praised God while he was there.
There is a song that goes something like this:
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be His name
He gives and takes away
My heart will truly say…
Lord, blessed be your name.
Every blessing you pour out,
I’ll turn back to praise
And when the darkness closes in,
Still I will say,
Blessed be your name.
He gave me my family and, in a sense, (and without consulting me, mind you) he chose to take most of them away by moving them to other parts of the country. In the darkness that seemed to be enveloping me, I could choose to cower to that dark placet or I could choose to praise Him in spite of it. Would I be able to proclaim words such as Paul might have? Words like, Lord, blessed be your name – no matter what?
I was visiting my parent's and had awaken. The rest of those in the house were sleeping. I opened the shades to watch the water rush by in the river me. It was running fast and the river was full.
A duck was floating down the river. He was drifting alone, seeming quite content and to be enjoying his trip. As the river carried him downstream, he did not fight it. He appeared to slow down and drift to the side, sitting for about ten minutes as he preened himself.
For some odd reason, I began to feel anxious for him as he drifted to the side – alone. Where was his family? Where were his friends? Why was no one else coming? Didn't he know that if he kept going and didn't go back that he'd most likely drown at the falls?
A thousand thoughts crowded my mind, as I panicked over this duck. Then I noticed – he didn't appear worried at all, still quite content, over there on the side by himself.
And then I realized – I can be like that duck, if I choose to be. I can allow God to take me downstream, through the rushing waters, knowing not where the river will take me and enjoy the ride instead – alone. I would prefer to be traveling down that river with all of my family around me, knowing they are there if I need them – being there if they need me. But ultimately? All I really need is to trust God and lean on Him alone, for all I really need… is Him.
I continued to watch that duck and as he started back out for another jaunt. This time he only went about ten feet on his next venture before trying to go back upstream – back to where he came from. As I watched him, he struggleed in his fight, going in the opposite direction from where the river was pushing him to go.
And it is then that I realized, I dont' want to be like that duck and yet, that is what I was doing – pushing against God and fighting Him. I want to go back upstream to where I came from, to how it used to be – Sunday dinners with everyone there, game nights, making homemade ice cream, watching Clara – seeing her smile, hearing her laugh. Yet, for some reason, God was taking me down a different river of life. A river that twisted and turned and while I didn't have the slightest idea of where it was running to, unaware of what was around the bend, oblivious of where I was going to end up, I heard Him whisper, Will you trust Me?
Would I? Would I be willing to drift to the side and rest a while, allowing God to be the one to fill the hole in my heart? Would I sit there with Him, letting Him be the one to dry my tears as He pushed away the darkness that surrounded me? Would I realize that He is the river that takes me to unknown places? Would I quit fighting Him by trying to swim back upstream to what used to be? Would I turn to Him, with an aching heart and still be able to say, Blessed be Your name?
In surrender, I pulled up my webbed feet that had become strong from fighting and trying to go my way, and allowed Him to bring me to His side and find rest. I chose trust. After all, He is all I've ever needed and I don't swim upstream too well. He also reminded me ducks can fly and so can I – if I stay hidden under his wings.
Oh Lord, forgive me. This morning I prayed for new eyes to see you in my life and you gave me a memory of all things, a duck. Help me to be like that duck – content with just You – needing only You. Help me to float down this river of life with You, knowing You will take care of me, pushing away the darkness that closes in. When I am tired and my heart aches, pull me to the side and hide me under Your wings, just as a mother bird protects her young. Then, when it is time to float again, let me not look back and want to go back upstream, fighting You in the process but to look ahead, even if I don’t know where You are taking me. I want to trust You. No matter where You take me or how I may get there, at each turn, I want to look to You and say, blessed be Your name.
I would encourage you that if you’re struggling with anything today, there is a God who cares and is waiting to take you under His wings and hold you close. All you have to do is… let Him.