On what had been a particularly horrible day, a faithful friend invited me over for a long walk through the woods to talk and to be bolstered. Afterwards, she invited me for dinner with her and her family. Together, she and I crowded into her kitchen and cooked potatoes and asparagus and hollandaise sauce to accompany a roast that was nearly done. The meal and fellowship was good for both body and soul and I forgot, for a time, how wretched my day had been and of all the tears that had spilled forth. With dishes ready to be stacked, she handed me the book The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldridge in hopes that it would offer encouragement. Needless to say, it has. Here is an excerpt:
“As I spoke with a friend about her painful life, how reckless and unpredictable God seems, she turned and with pleading eyes asked the question we are all asking somewhere deep within: “How can I trust a lover who is so wild?” Indeed, how do we not only trust him, but love him in return? There’s only one possible answer: You could love him if you knew his heart was good.
In the movie The Last of the Mohicans, brave Nathaniel has captured the heart of the beautiful Cora. With tremendous courage and cunning, he rescues her from an ambush set by the black-hearted Magua, leader of a warring tribe. Nathaniel leads Cora, her sister, and a few other survivors to a hidden cave behind a waterfall. Just when it appears they will escape and live happily ever after, Magua and his savages discover their hideout.
Once captured, the women may be spared but the men will surely be executed. With no powder for their rifles, Nathaniel’s only chance is to leap from the falls; by saving himself, he will live to rescue Cora another day. One of the other men calls him a coward, accusing him of foul and selfish motives. How is Cora feeling? What looks like abandonment may not be. Her only hope in the face of such wildness lies in the goodness of Nathaniel’s heart. At this point, it’s all she has to go on. It’s all we often have to go on too.”
* * *
If you’re like me, this might just resonate with you. For the last year and a half, I’ve been on a hard and difficult journey. The Lord has been at my side, and with every curve in the road, I hope to see a welcoming meadow unfold before us. A place of rest and gentleness. But alas, the journey has more twists and difficult climbs than I imagined. More perils afoot than I could have ever foreseen. And now, as the road takes yet another new curve, I see God make a bold and terrifying leap that has me completely stunned in my tracks. I want to cry out to him saying, “I did all that you asked of me, and now that we’ve come this far, you up and jump through a waterfall without bringing me with you?! Are you crazy?”
The things is, God’s not crazy. But he IS wild.
And so part of me stands here wondering what on earth is going on. The other part of me knows that I will not be forgotten.
You are loved and you’ll not be forgotten.
The very words a different hero leaves behind for his lady when he must leave her for a time…all for her own good.
Not entirely the most tame behavior, these men. So why would we expect our Creator to be any more tame? How do we have a steadfast faith when we are in the care of such a wild God?
I think we do it by remembering that the God who created this world from His own imaginings does not fit along the lines of a road map. He’s a voyager. An adventurer. And since He’s writing the story–and the maker of the rules–He’s not one to shy away from forging new paths. Ones that might leave us stunned, or afraid, or at times, wondering where He’s gone off to. We might hear Him trashing about in the brush and we must remember that He will not forget we are waiting upon him. The path He is forging is for our own good and safety and so He must, at times, dare us to trust.
This is not a passive role for us. It’s wholly active. Let us carry that trust with faithful hands. Let us equip ourselves in the waiting by resting in God’s word and promises and girding ourselves in His truth; the stories that He has told us in the Word that tell us time and time again that no matter how hard it might seem, His people are loved and will not be forgotten.
For each of us, this bend in the road might look a little bit different. If you’ve been in the place that I am in, you know the feeling.
To stand here and wait — behind the waterfall. It’s loud and it’s uncertain and it’s far from comfortable. In the distance comes the familiar sounds of peril and despair. We are tempted to pace and to wring our hands. Tempted to wonder if God is still there. If he survived the fall. And yet we know the answer to that – because there is nothing impossible for God. He sees us and he knows. If you ever feel like I do… that God has taken that giant leap on your behalf, let us trust together that He knows what he is doing. That yes, He is wild, but that He is also good. He can survive any fall and conquer any enemy on our behalf. He is doing it even now and has been doing it since the beginning of time. Take heart in that — this heartache you might face, or this wild adventure you might be on — is not only something that God will see you through, but He’s passionate to do so.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God…But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8)
Thank you. I needed that reminder.
Toni, I am so thankful to hear that.
This is beautiful, Joanne. And much-needed. I love your heart!
Melissa, it blesses me to know end that this was timely for you! Hugs.
Wow. Praying that things will calm down for you in the near future. Keep the faith and hold onto the truths that God has promised us.
So thankful for your prayers and encouragement, Susan.
In the midst of your troubles you have the strength to give encouragement to others…that is a special gift! And I needed this. Thank you!
Thank you Francesca, for your precious words. It means a lot to me that the post was what you needed as well.
This made me smile and cry. So needed this reminder today. That our wild God is always good. Thanks so much!
Touched by that, Paula. Thank you for taking the time to share!
Aww, Jo. This made me cry. So, so beautiful and full of wisdom and your gorgeous heart. Praying for you, dear friend. And so grateful to see that you're putting your trust in our wild, but loving, God. As ever, you are a continual inspiration to me. *hugs*
I am so touched by that, Kara! Thank you for your prayers and encouragement throughout the seasons. I am so thankful for you, my friend. Your strength inspires me as does your never-ending kindness.
Just beautiful, my friend. You’ve been on my mind and in my prayers. I love this quote from Charles Spurgeon… “Great grace is needed, but great grace is provided.” <3 Thanking the Lord that He is with you always, even in the unknown. Hugs!!
I am so thankful for your prayers. What a marvelous quote. I’ll be holding on to that one for sure. We are so well cared for, aren’t we?
This post demonstrates the kind of amazing insight that could only come from one who has lived “beneath the falls”.
Such beautiful words, Rebecca. I treasure YOUR insights.
Beautiful words from a beautiful heart. Sending love and praying for you.
So thankful your prayers and kindness, Carrie!
Whoa. Holy cow. These words are ripped straight from my heart/life right now. Behind the waterfall… Such perfect imagery. Needed this. So desperately. Thank you.
I did a double take in seeing your name here! SO honored by your visit and just touched that the imagery lined up so much with your own life. Sending you a hug from afar.
You very eloquently expressed emotions many feel when passing through their valleys. I will pray for you. I could have used these eloquent words to think upon. Few years ago.
I am so sorry for the heartache you experienced a few years back. Praying that God will use your trials to help ease those of others. I know you’ve already been an encouragement to my own.
As we all go through our valleys may we remember this. Such a great job explaining our ups and downs. Thank you! May God keep blessing you!
Brenda, I am thankful that the post resonated with you. Thank you for visiting and for sharing!
Thank you for your beautiful words. This is a great reminder.
Encouraged to hear that, Andrea. Thank you.
Beautiful words, Joanne. Love you so much and thank you for the reminder.
Hello sweet, friend. Thinking of you… HUGS!
Bless you sweet girl! This life is indeed sometimes a wild
and often heartbreaking journey. Keep your faith completely and fully
in God. Even when you can no longer hear him, he
is near, he hasn’t forgotten you. Rest in Him Jo, He will bring you to that beautiful, peaceful meadow. Hugs.
That is indeed what I need to hold fast to. That even when I can no longer hear him, he is near and has not forgotten. And for the image and the hope of that meadow. A joy to look forward to one day. Thank you.
Thank you for this, Joanne. Your words are so meaningful. I’m so sorry for the curving, bumpy, painful path. I wish it weren’t so. I’m praying for a peaceful meadow, or perhaps something unexpected yet still beautiful–a vast blue lake or shining seashore you didn’t expect. Hugs and continued prayers for comfort, peace, and the joy of the Lord to fill you each day. <3 <3
Kerry, I just love the picture you paint of that vast lake or that seashore. What a place to come to. I will dream of it one day and thank you for painting such a lovely place. Thank you so dearly for your hugs, and your comfort, and your prayers. Grateful for you.
I can picture you behind the waterfall, hugging your arms around yourself, waiting in the damp chill for your Rescuer to come bursting through.
Oh Cynthia, what a precious thought of the Rescuer bursting through. I hold that close to my heart. Thank you, friend.
Amen. He is so wild and so good, and you are so very beloved, dearest friend.
Thank you, Amanda. I was just at your blog reading (and crying through) that precious post about the day you and Ben met and he stapled your backpack shut. <3
Beautifully expressed, bringing tears, Joanne. Sometimes I can look back and see His movement in my pain, in retrospect. He loves us. Oh, how He loves us. I pray for an uplifting of your soul. Your vulnerable sharing is a rich gift.
Thank you for visiting, KT. Always a delight to have you here. And thank you for your words of encouragement and tenderness. They’re a balm.
You are truly a special person. I’m so proud of you.
Love you bunches, Uncle Bob.
Beautiful, Joanne, and so true! I’ve walked the path you are currently walking and I will continue to cover you and your children in prayer.
Much love! I’m only a private message away! ❤️
Andi, I so appreciate your prayers. I am sorry for your own heartaches and hope that peace has come in so many ways.
God has certainly given you a gift to so beautifully express what you are going through to help encourage others. My experience made me a stronger, better person thanks to our God’s faithfulness. He will continue to help you and your children and I’ll continue to pray for you.
Thank you for that, Pam. It means so much. And to hear of how your experience changed you…oh man, I am learning this. It’s a mercy, in the pain, and it’s an experience that while sometimes I don’t think I have the strength to make it through, I know it will be wort it in the end. Already God has shown me so many amazing things, as I can only imagine he has done for you.
You have such a beautiful heart Joanne. I hope that I can gracefully pass through the trials of life as you have. You are such a great example! I know we don’t really know each other except through FB, but I think of you and pray for you.
So sweet of you, Carolyn, and I am thankful for your encouragement and prayers!
Ronie Kendig sent me here, and I am SO glad that she did!!
Oh honey, ohhhhhhhhh, honey!! As always, this was what I needed, when I needed it.
Praying for you through this horrible time, and for you as you wait behind the waterfall.
Ronie is a DEAR. Despite any melancholy, it sure brought a smile to my face to see that she had paid a visit. And YOU. I’m so grateful to know that this post was what you needed to here. You’ve brightened up my day so many times I’m glad to get to do the same today. And thank you for those prayers in this time.
I have read this through 3 times over the course of this day. You are indeed loved and not forgotten. The Lord’s joy is evident in your heart even though you have had to face so many challenges. I see your boundless love for your children and your desire to look to the God who loves you in constancy – steadfastly. Hope abides and with that is His peace that never fails.
Love you! And could NOT do this without you.
Amen!! Your posts are always so beautiful and inspiring, your transparency is such a balm for so many hurting souls. I’ve known the pain of being behind that waterfall in the past – but God was faithful in rescuing me and my trials only made me stronger, more understanding of other’s problems, and brought me to a closer relationship with Him. We never know how long will be the journey of our trial but we can be assured that one day we will see His light at the end of the tunnel. Love you, Joanne, and continuing to pray for you and your family!! Hugs!!
It is always a joy to see you here (and anywhere!). I am always amazed in the way you navigate trials so graciously and even find a way to be an encouragement to others as you do so. You are a treasure. Thank you for your prayers and I’ll be keeping you in my prayers as well.
Sacred Romance is one of my favorite books. I read it my sophomore year in college when my relationship with God was becoming my own. This is the second time this week I’ve heard it mentioned. I think a reread is necessary. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart, Joanne. He is indeed good. Keep the faith, sister.
Isn’t it wonderful, Jolina! I’m so thankful that it fall into my lap this way. It’s been a huge inspiration for making sense of this life. Thinking of you and your dear husband and sending many prayers your way for health and peace during this time.
Beautiful, Joanne. Just beautiful. I really needed this. Bad happens behind the waterfall. I press on, chin lifted high, don’t show the pain, hope remains. But then I crash, feeling like I’m being dragged, just allowing myself to feel … will hope still come through? Yes, because His heart is good. And His ways are not ours. So many hugs to you. xoxo
It’s always a joy t have you visit and it means all the more to know that the post was a timely one for you. Such beautiful words of yours and I am in this place time and time again myself so it’s a strange comfort in knowing we’re not alone. Your courage brings me courage. Thank you for that.
Absolutely on point for my life — for the last year at least. Thank you for sharing. I know when God jumps from the waterfall, He hasn’t left. But sometimes my head and my heart compete.
Indeed He hasn’t. I’m so glad that we can remember this together!
Joanne, I was thinking of you this morning as I came across the following quote (a storm, rather than a waterfall, but I think it’s okay to mix metaphors in a reply, right?). Now, after reading your beautiful blog post, I’m compelled to share:
“Is there no music in the heart of sorrow that the Lord of all has chosen for His own? Are you not nearer to the Master, have you not grown in faith, in patience, in prayerfulness, in thankful hope, since the time the storm winds first sighed across your life? …Do not tremble because of the winds of the future; your Lord will be living and loving tomorrow, even as He lives and loves today and no storm waits in your path but shall leave behind another record that your Heavenly Father is stronger than the tempest, nearer than the grief.
We are traveling home to that beauteous shore where the chill winds never sweep, the hurricane makes no moan; yet, amid the rest of the painless Homeland, shall we not love the Lord a thousandfold more for every storm of earth in which He drew near us, saying, ‘Fear not,’ and held us by the hand, and tenderly bore us through the hour that seemed the darkest?
Set your thoughts, not on the storm, but on the Love that rules the storm.” – from “In Rainbow Weather” by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
This, my friend, is what I see you seeking to do, day after day after day. Surely, He, who comforts and guides you, is glorified!
How these words fill my heart. Thank you for writing them (and yes, there is always room for mixed metaphors! 🙂 ) I am going to be returning to read this again and again, I have no doubt. Thank you for thinking of me and for sharing this… and for the book in the first place! It’s been such a comfort and one that I’ve already bought a copy of.
I’ve been reading every page of yours with care — slowly and surely as each section is saturated with truth, that giving it time to sink it seems to be a must. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do!
I am on the same journey you are. No matter how dark some days get, you are never alone with God in your life. I love the way He puts angels in my life to lift me up in spirit, mind and body. I can only pray He shows me a way forward as I struggle with each decision I am forced to make. I did seek medical advise to help with my depression. It helped me tremendously and I met some great people through our group therapy sessions.
Know you are enough! I struggled for 37 years to hold my marriage together. I realizzed I was the only person trying. Without two people working together, a marriage is doomed to fail. Don’t carry his shame. I felt it was my fault that he cheated. It wasn’t. But I had to work through that in my own time until I could hold my head up and look myself in the eye in the mirror.
I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May God place the Angels you need most in your life at His perfect time.
“We are not here to see through one another,
but to see one another throiugh.”
This was beautiful. This year has also had its challenges for me. I think that I know what my life should look like and then I am surprised when God takes me down a different road. The road is sometimes rocky, bumpy, and foggy. But you are right. God is God and so I will trust Him. Even when I don’t understand. He sees what I cannot see and knows what I cannot know.
I hope you have a blessed New Year and I wish you well on your writing.
Indeed our God is ‘wild’. But He’s so good.
Thank you for sharing.