When I was five, my best friend locked the two of us in the trunk of his dad’s car. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why the heck would he do that, right?
Good question. I still wonder about it, myself. If memory serves me correctly, we were pretending as kids often do. Our story involved being kidnapped by an awful person who threw us into the trunk of his car.
Of course, we had to climb into a trunk for effect. My friend didn’t intend to for it to latch, but it did.
Wonder why I’m still claustrophobic? Yeah, that’s the reason.
We weren’t big kids but that trunk was cramped. It was dark. The air was musty.
But do you know what I still remember? The little streak of light that shined through the crack in the door. It was bright. It illuminated the small space and we could see outside.
We could see neighbors riding by on their bikes. We could see the driveway and the trees.
This little pencil beam of light gave hope we would be found. It made me believe I wouldn’t take my last breath cursing my friend who decided this was a good idea.
We weren’t sure if anyone could hear us, but we called out for help. When someone didn’t come the first time, we continued yelling.
After my daughter was born in 2016, I felt like that little girl all over again.
I was completely enamored with her and couldn’t get enough of her sweet coos and smiles. But I struggled. Things I thought would be easy took every ounce of energy I had. Even after the first month when we ventured out into the world, I felt lonely and isolated.
But I could see that little streak of light, just like the one I saw as a girl, and I called out. Even when the answer didn’t come, I kept lifting my voice.
One Sunday I was putting on make-up, getting ready for church and I told my husband how I felt: overwhelmed. Like I was wading through quicksand and I couldn’t seem to get a good foundation underneath me. Everyday tasks like getting the kids to the bus stop were more difficult than usual, not to mention the big projects that seemed larger than life.
But the most frustrating part of it all was spiritual. When I came to God, my prayers felt sluggish. Like I was fumbling through the dark, trying to find my way.
When I’m going through these times I love to read the Psalms because David didn’t hold anything back. He put it all out there, crying out to God with his soul deep needs.
One of my all-time favorites is Psalm 40. It starts with David doing something we followers of Christ loathe. Waiting. Waiting patiently for the Lord.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
We aren’t patient people, are we? We want God to sweep us out of the pit right now and give us the answer to the prayer, desire or need.
But God is refining us. We are being pressed from every side but we don’t despair.
The crushed vessel still shines because of what’s inside of it: Christ.
It shines because the Spirit inside keeps calling out. Abba, Father.
That little streak of light I saw? It was the things I knew about God. The aspects of his character I held onto. His faithfulness, his perfect, unchanging love, and the many times he’d delivered me in the past.
We are not orphans, friends. God hasn’t abandoned you or forgotten you. You are his daughter, and he stands in the fire with you.
There is nothing you are walking through that he hasn’t already delivered you from.
My friend and I? Someone heard us. After a few minutes his dad came out looking for us and saved us from the imaginary kidnapper.
Just like David, our persistent cries brought an answer. They brought relief and comfort.
And just like the little girl who called out for help all those years ago, God came to me. But first I had to be open about my need for help. I had to be real with someone about the darkness I was wading through. I had to remember the promises I knew about God, even when I couldn’t see him.
No matter how distant God seems today, keep crying out. No matter how grim your situation seems, keep coming to him.
If you can’t see the pencil streak of light, grab a hold of another believer’s hand and simply say his name. The answer will come.
I can guarantee it.