June 14, 2010

hiking the narrows

My friend was recently describing a hike her husband is hoping to go on in Zion National Park, Utah. It's called The Narrows, and is a 16-mile long slot canyon through which runs the Virgin River. At places, the walls of the canyon are 2000 feet tall and only 20-30 feet wide.
But you can always look up and see out of the canyon.

I read this post today on (in)courage, written by a young woman who has an autoimmune disease which there is no cure for and has left her homebound.

It was a nice encouragement to me, because it’s easy to wander into the wondering land of “What’s the point of this? Why me?” even when you’ve decided to stop asking those questions. And the truth is, even in my blessings, I sometimes wonder "Why me? What have I done to deserve this? What am I supposed to do with this blessing?" And the answer I return to is: trust He knows what He's doing, obey, and let Him do it.

I’ve excerpted part of her post below.

...when she was talking about the story of Abraham and Isaac, which prompted her to look up the meaning for the word “trial.” This is what her book said:

TRIAL (Old Testament) noun: from the Hebrew word sara which comes from the root srh, which means, “to bind, tie up, restrict." Thus, the noun comes to denote a narrow place in life where one is bound or restricted

I read it, and then read it again. And as I tried to digest it, I kept muttering to myself, “God, what are you trying to say here?!?!

My name, Sara, means to be in a narrow place in life where one is bound or restricted. Me. Sara. Who is homebound. Restricted by my location. Restricted by my very body that could barely move from the pain. Restricted by my lungs that don’t allow a deep breath anymore. Restricted from life beyond my four walls.

I got it. Not subtle. But what’s the point you’re trying to make here, God??? What’s the point?

Funny, that’s a question I usually try to avoid. What’s the point of all of this? What’s the point of my illness… my pain… my limitations… my forfeiting of all the dreams I had for my life. What’s the point?

I avoid the question because I’m fully aware I may never know the answer. I may never know how He is choosing to use my life or why not healing me fits into His plan. And I decided a long time ago that it’s ok if I never know, because I trust Him. He knows, and that’s all that matters.

But as I sat there and wondered, “What’s the point?” it occurred to me that as my physical life has been made narrow, as I have been bound and restricted and faced this trial, He has saved me from living a narrow life.

If I had not become physically restricted in this trial, I would not be here talking with all of you. Because of this trial, my world – my life – has been opened up to a community who has stepped forward to share my life, my story, my faith. I have been stretched and pulled and reshaped in my beliefs. My life has been fuller and deeper and wider, maybe not despite of my homebound status, but because of it.

My name is the origin of the word trial. I am bound and restricted. But He saved me from living a narrow life. He took my trial and redeemed it. I thought, in my story as Isaac, I was not spared because I am not healed.

But in truth, He healed my spirit.

And set me free.

by Sara Frankl, Gitzen Girl
original photo here

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