When sorrows like sea billows roll…
the verse from the old hymn made me grip the back of the seat at church.
I thought of the wave of sorrows I have known the past year-loving Maureen, losing her family members, letting God build a house, living a life with one foot here, the other there. Equally, I’ve experienced the most profound joy I’ve ever known.
But now, it’s the new sorrow that each of our Mercy House girls carries from abuse, neglect, threatening to destroy them.
Some days, I don’t want to read the emails from Africa or wait for the ping of Skype. It’s not because I don’t long for Maureen, them. It’s simply because I’m afraid.
If I’ve learned anything in this wild God-journey, building a maternity home in Africa, it’s to expect the unexpected. And sometimes I’m scared the problem will be too big.
I’m afraid I won’t have answers for staff asking questions-hard ones about 10 year old girls being raped by step-dads and wondering if we have enough money for outpatient hospital care for one of our unstable girls and…..
I struggle because I don’t have the answers. Not even one.
I know too much. Imagine the worst situation for a young girl in Kenya-the worst. (Hunger. Prostitution. Rape. Incest?) Now double it, triple it. I’ve learned of things I cannot even imagine.
Some days, knowing so much is too much to handle.
And the sorrow like sea billows roll….
I sat on the dark beach, illuminated only by moon, and whisper-cried to Ann a few weeks ago how heavy the burden is some days. And even on days, it’s lighter, the guilt presses in. Do we buy a new sofa because ours stinks (literally smells)? Or do we make do because we have so much and know those with so little. She grasped my hand, tears glistening in the moonlight and I knew she knew.
I’ve never lost a parent or a child. I haven’t know physical abuse or neglect. I was raised in middle-class America, braces on my teeth, degree in my pocket. I live a comfy American life, and most days, I’m the wrong person for the job.
But then He reminds me, in the way only God can, you said yes. It is enough.
I don’t need you to fix the problems or offer solutions. I need you to trust and let me move.
And I find my way back to the place where I need Him.
Every hour. I need Him.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
I know that we face periods of sorrow in our lives-sick children, aging parents, financial crisis. Moments when we just need Him.
How can we bear each other’s burdens today?