Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Suffering brings clarity. This isn’t automatic, but it’s possible. Suffering causes us to focus like few other things in life can. Jesus said in Matthew 13:15, "For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them" (NIV). I’m amazed how easily my eyes form spiritual cataracts, and how I close my eyes to certain obvious things.

Pain has a way of calling every nerve to stand at attention. I’m not here glorifying pain or desiring more, but I have to admit it makes me aware of how truly alive I am. I hunger for clarity in my spiritual life. I want to see the Lord as Abraham and Moses did--like a friend, face to face. I don't want to lose this ability to see what so often I have missed. I resist the inevitable return to spiritual dullness.

This side of eternity, there will always be things won’t be able to see, things beyond our finite ability to understand. I Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (NIV). Yet there is so much that the Lord wants us to see, hear and experience of His sustaining grace and love. A friend once asked me if it’s possible to have this kind of clarity without having this kind of suffering. I don’t know how it could be possible for me. I can be a dull, irascible, and self-centered sort. My imagination easily declares war on windmills and journeys down unworthy paths.

Of the Lord's Twelve, I guess I most identify with Simon Peter. I’m standing in a boat with others, darkness surrounds us, waves frighten us. Then we see something that makes the hair on our necks stand. Our nervous systems are on full alert. It is Jesus, walking on the storm tossed seas of our lives. What we’re experiencing is impossible but nonetheless real. I ask the Lord to allow me to come to Him. He smiles and nods his approval of my request. I step out of the boat, causing even more fear in my companions who are rocked by my recklessness. I walk on water. Step by step, the impossible becomes possible. Then my eyes are distracted by the sheer impossibility of faith. As I sink, fear rises; I cry, He hears and rescues. Oh me of little faith.

Suffering brings clarity. It also needs clarity. I can’t assume, I will not assume that this suffering is the worst, and once I am over it, I can rest assured I will not have to suffer like this again. I have no guarantees that there won’t be more or greater loss. Although I cannot imagine a greater loss, I must remember how dull I can be. Nonetheless, He comes on storm tossed waves, in the midst of great fear, to dull and distracted people like me and Peter and bids us to do the impossible and come to Him.

Lord, I come.
Ed Litton


Anonymous said...

Through the holidays, my mind would travel to you and your family ... your first Christmas without the wife and mother of the home. I would take that opportunity to pray for you and life you up to the Father. I continue to check your blogs because they are filled with wisdom and insight. God is faithful, and it is evident He is carrying you. Thank you for sharing ... for those who know you and for those of us who sign as "anomyous"! To God be the glory!

Anonymous said...

I thought about you many times through the holidays. I, too, recently lost my best friend and love of my life. My life has been changed forever and I often feel cheated, too, out of the joy that is experienced this time of year and the things we shared. Even as I look to my Lord and Savior each and every day for guidance, I still experience little reminders that can just bring on the tears and can change my day. So often I pray just to hear God speak to me and to tell me what He is doing. Some days are just so much harder than others. There are so many little things that I miss. Loneliness is by far the worst part of it all for me. Other people can be around but things are just not the same without the one there that knew me better than anyone else on earth. I thank you for the insight and honesty that you pour out so often. You and your family are in my prayers. I'm looking forward to the day when our God reveals it ALL and, in the light of our Savior, we are re-united with the ones we love and miss so badly. To God be the glory for being with us even we seem to be drowning in our own tears. Thank you for your encouragement through your pain.

Anonymous said...

Many O Lord my God are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Ps 40:5

This is my second Christmas since my loss. Certainly, it is much easier than the first. I still think of him, I still remember what it felt like to be with him but not quite as often as I used to. The stretches of time that I feel well are getting longer. You develop new habits and new routines. But they are still a part you-in the choices you make and the paths you choose. They are a part of the fabric you are made of because of the threads they interwove into your life-it cannot be changed. In a sense, the people you love still live through you even when they are gone. What course would you have taken? Where would you be had they not come into your life? How much richer you are because they did. They helped to shape us into who we are today and continue to help shape our tomorrows.

Lord, you've planned wondrous things for us-they are too many to declare.

Anonymous said...

i hug my husband more often because of the light your transparency has shed on our lives. "big deals" that once formed obstacles in our relationship lose their relevence through the lens of your suffering. that may seem an insignificant byproduct overall, but for us, it is no small thing.

we love you, hurt with you, and pray for you sincerely.

AmberG said...

Amen, for nothing is impossible with God!