From the Anika archives: March 2008
Sometimes desperately frustrated by how far away God felt...longing and yearning for a connection to my Savior...I would close my eyes and simply beg God to show up. At times there was silence and I would feel no answer at all. Occasionally there would the remnant of a verse I’d almost forgotten or the briefest whisper of affirmation...the quiet knowledge that God was not as far away as I may have thought. And every so often my pleas were answered with the vividness of reality playing out before my eyes and in my heart, with the reassurance God has been waiting for me to beg Him to show up...
I am looking. Searching. Like a game of hide-and-seek where I am the seeker. The sun is bright and the day beautiful. I move deliberately, slowly, almost as if I am walking on tiptoes – trying not to make any noise as I look one way, and then the other…behind that tree, in that thicket of flowers. I bite my bottom lip with a mischievous grin. The look on my face screams: “You’re not hiding from me, You’re hiding for me. You are giving me a reason to seek; I just have to keep looking. This is just a game…”
But time passes and the sun is not quite so high in the sky. The flowers are tall on both sides of me and I do not have a good view of the path or expanse of land in either direction. This no longer feels like a game; this is no longer enjoyable. My breathing quickens; the smile drops from my face. “Where are You? Why are You hiding for me anyway?”
Silence. I nearly scream into the air but there is no answer. I begin to walk away. My pace accelerates and my seeking becomes more of a frantic search. The branches snap underneath of feet as I walk quickly down the path. With a quivering voice I shout again. “I can’t find You!” My words reverberate off the trees but again there is no answer. The wind blows and I shiver. I am cold...alone...desperate.
And so I start running. The path is narrow, almost non-existent, and the brush catches me from all sides. My arms and legs are becoming scratched and bruised. I continue to run. A fallen tree limb snags the flesh on my leg. A branch above slams into my forehead. While I am conscious of the pain – the blood trickling down my leg, the sudden pounding in my head - I do not have time to stop and see what caused and is causing my pain. I no longer care. All I know is that it hurts. And so I keep running. Pushing the flowers and branches out of my way, I am dying... dying to know where You are.
Breathing heavily, I feel myself begin to give up hope. It is too hard to continue to run; there is no use continuing to try… And my run becomes a jog and my jog becomes a weary pant. I am just barely moving and I cannot go on anymore. As I slow the back of my hand reaches to brush my tousled hair out of my face. My cheek is wet and I realize I am crying. My walk slows further, so slow I am just barely moving, and I fall. My attempts to move are that of a crawl and I am no longer crying, I am sobbing. I can go no further. And so, I stop all together. I have nothing left to give, nothing to go on.
I sit on the cold ground and am vaguely aware that is all but dusk as my face falls onto my scarred arms. I bawl. Salty tears fall into the fresh cuts on my hands and I wince as my arm brazes the raw bump on my head. “Where are You?” I whimper. “You promised if I were to go looking, I would find You. What happened? Are you really hiding from me? I can’t see you if You’re not here…” And my body convulses as I collapse.
And then, just then, You’re there. Gently, tenderly, You pick me up and place my head on Your shoulder even as I am still sobbing. You rub my back softly and whisper in my ear: “Ssshhh... It’s alright. Just rest. I’ve got you. That’s right. Lay your head on my shoulder and rest…”
My convulsing stops and just a few sobs cause me to shake as my breathing slows. I lift my head and look into your eyes, “I couldn’t find You…and now I’m dirty and scratched and…” I choke back more tears and am ready to again hide my eyes in Your shoulder when I see them. There, in the corner of Your eyes, are tears of Your own.
And with Your free hand, You take Your thumb and wipe the tear out of the corner of Your eye. Your thumb, still wet from Your tear, moves from Your eyes to mine as You use it to wipe the streams from my tear-stained cheeks. And then I know. While I was looking for You, You had been waiting, looking for me too. Your hands rub over my gashes, wounds, bumps, and scars and heal my hurts. The warmness of Your touch overwhelms me. I would be scarred again and again to be held as I am now being held. Because in Your arms, in Your eyes, I am perfect, I am Yours, I am found.
And You kiss my forehead as it nestles into Your neck. With feeling and emotion in Your voice you again whisper into my ear: “Relax my daughter. You are safe. You have fought and you have found. I have you and I will not let you go. Just rest…”