Am I enough? A voice whispers in the depths of my spirit. Fear, doubt, grief, and anger swirl through my heart and the feet of my soul struggle for anchor. I thrash, I despair, I fight, and I surrender. And in the midst of the quiet, soul-churning chaos I hear, Am I enough?
I’ve heard this voice before. I’ve heard this voice in seasons of joy and peace when it whispers direction and inspires gratitude to protect against complacency. But this time I hear it in the face of potential anguish. No, not potential anguish. It feels like the beginning of a tidal wave of anguish that has the potential to overtake my soul with hopelessness and despondency and fear. Heart-numbing fear. The kind that makes it impossible to take care of the very basic necessities of life like sleeping and eating. The kind that makes my every heart beat a conscious event because of the violence with which it pounds.
This time the voice is certainly not unloving but it just as certainly holds a note of challenge. Am I enough? Despair swells up in reply and once again, with more authority, He whispers, AM I ENOUGH? Oh, He is. There’s no doubt about that – theoretically. But this time the question is not being asked as a topic of objective, theological conjecture; this time, real life is involved and He is very clearly asking me whether or not I am going to let Him be enough in this potential season of suffering.
It’s a simple enough question. The implications are not simple at all. For indeed, it implies that just because the situation we face is hard, unfair, horrible, painful, long-lasting in consequence, I am not relieved of my responsibility to respond in a way that demonstrates where I put my hope. At a time when I expect pity and a reprieve from accountability over my action – for there is a temptation to give up and drown in the tidal wave – he is asking me to fight to stay above the waterline and trust Him. To display trust in Him.
Am I enough? For sure I want Him to be enough, I long for Him to be enough, but I have no idea what that means in the face of such abject dismay and despair. I’ve pondered this question for days and still don’t know completely but I suspect that it can be as simple as a posturing of the spirit. It’s a request to lay my heart down, with its confusion and pain and horror, at his feet. It’s a request to trust in spite of confusion, to respond peacefully in spite of injustice, and to react rightly in spite of the wrongs done. It’s a challenge to cling to Truth when Emotion is more easily yielded to and it’s a challenge to grasp to the hope that is His sovereignty when instead I want to fight for control.
Hard things happen, friends. We are free from the power of sin and death through the shed blood of Jesus Christ but while we are still on earth we are unfortunately not freed from the consequences of sin and death. Sometimes those consequences will strike at even the most faithful of believers. In fact, we are told we will share in his suffering on earth – and did he not suffer as a result of others’ sin? – so that we can share in his glory later on. So when sin-induced suffering arises, we have a choice. We can persist – and maybe it takes everything in us – to glorify the One who fashioned us in the womb, reconciled our wayward hearts to Himself thereby saving us from the eternal consequence of sin and death, and promised to work all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose. We can glorify Him in speaking the truth of the Word over again the lies of the enemy; we can glorify Him in forgiving, not because it’s deserved or asked for, but because we ourselves are forgiven; and we can glorify Him in seeing hope for the future because we know that He determines what will be and He is Good. Or we cannot. And there are plenty of ways we cannot. For myself, I am not free to act in ignorance because he has called me out and asked with gentle frankness, Am I enough?
Perfect I am not, but redeemed I am, and so in my weakened, battered state I can only respond, “May it be so.”
(*I do not presume to speak for the Lord but below are all the gentle reminders with which he has flooded my spirit during these few days of struggle.)
You say I’m enough in the sunshine
When the grass grows green on your side,
When the flowers bloom forth fresh and fragrant,
When your heart by still water abides
You say I’m enough in comfort
I’m the song that you sing in your bliss
When contentment comes easy and life’s purpose is plain
I’m enough for you in all this
I’m enough when you’re in control
When your decisions pave the way for what comes
You say it is so, you respond with a no
Your world beats to a predictable drum
You say I’m enough to others
When the suffering spoken of is theirs,
When tragedy strikes at a heart not your own,
When condolence must fill up the air.
But what about in your own darkness?
When the storm clouds of grief fog your soul
What about when you believe you did right
And appalling horror still takes its toll?
When this sin-cursed world throws a punch
And it shatters your Achilles heel?
Am I enough for you in these moments?
Despite the shock and despair that you feel?
Can My Word override your emotions?
Can My Promises rise up to conquer?
Can My Truth set you free from your natural response?
Oh, that you would turn to Me as your Father!
I feel the same anger at sin – stronger even
Tears have flooded My eyes more than once,
My heart is breaking with yours – don’t you know that?
Please see, even here, I’m enough.
You may not have control but I do
Can you trust that I’m wholly Good?
I am Good, therefore I can bring Good
Though My ways may not be understood
So I’m enough – you know why?
Because I Am, and I Was, and I will always Be,
There is nowhere else to find healing
Nowhere else to be fully set free
Yes, I know the hurt is unbearable,
So come to Me prostrate and weak
Let Me cradle you close to My Heart
The One upon whom sin left a crimson streak
He too bore the injustice of wrongdoing
He too grieved from horror untold
He too carried the weight of sin’s magnitude
But look to the cross and behold!
Through My Son I have conquered the chaos
Though it aches, know I’ve crushed sin and death
Trust Me; find your rest in My presence
Find My comfort in your every breath
Bring your sadness, your despair, your anger
Lay them down at the feet of the Lamb
I’m enough, please cling to that promise
I’m enough because I AM.
[It’s been a rough week but in the end everything is okay. I write this simply to encourage others going through hard times and to remind our amazing team that we need prayer. Please remember to pray for all those in ministry – as missionaries it can be especially difficult because of our removal from what’s comfortable. Spiritual battles are real but we have the greatest defense we could hope for: prayerful access to the God of the Universe and sure Victor over everything. Thanks for being a part of our team.]