Two weeks ago I attended a funeral for a member of our church who died suddenly. It was a somber event to say the least.
Our pastor preached an inspiring message during which he spoke these words:
This is not the end.”
He went on to say that no matter where you are, no matter what you are going through or what difficulties you are facing, this is not the end of the road.
It’s true and I believe it. Because in God’s economy, even death is not the end. We who believe in Jesus are a resurrection people, and so we always have the hope that there is more to come. That God makes a way even through the darkest night.
Those words are fine and good.
But boy, do I know what it feels like to face a dead end.
Parting the waters
Sometimes it feels like the mountain you’re facing is insurmountable. I’ve been there. More than once.
There have been times in my life when I honestly didn’t know what to do or where to go next. When it seemed like this was it, my number was up, and there was nowhere to turn. Times when everything screeched to a halt and I felt stuck.
Like that scene in Exodus when Moses leads the recently escaped people of Israel through the desert and straight to the banks of the Red Sea.
How angry and frustrated they must have been.
We are like them, yes? Frustrated and overcome by our circumstances, irritated with how life has chewed us up and spit us out here – in this, of all places – where we are trapped and can’t move forward or back.
It might be the loss of a job. It could be a health issue. Maybe you’re faced with an impossible relationship. Or maybe you’re an exhausted caretaker for a disabled loved one or a rebellious teenager and you’re just ready to give up.
Life often leads us to places that seem like dead ends.
But this is a dead end, right?
I’ll be painfully honest, here. As I write these words, I’m preparing to go to Houston to sing with a lovely group of people for an annual concert. We will be working with my beloved college choral director, and learning some gorgeous music. Many of the folks in this group sing or teach singing professionally. They are a beautiful group of people, all of whom love choral singing.
And I feel inadequate.
Although there was a time when I was completely confident in my singing ability, that time is no longer. I’ve shared many times on this blog about my voice difficulties, about how I have breathing issues, and about my anxiety problems.
I feel as though God isn’t finished with me yet. More than anything I want to be able to stand in front of an audience and sing with confidence again. But it hasn’t happened.
And can I be even more open with you?
Despite my promises to keep moving forward, keep believing, keep working toward the goal of singing again, I gave up.
I’m not sure when I gave up.
I just know that sometime within the last year or so, I decided it was never going to happen again. It was too hard to keep hoping, so I sentenced myself to a lifetime of never singing again. I created my own dead end because I can’t seem to get unstuck.
And here I am, getting ready to go sing with this fantastic group. Worried about how I’ll have to fake my way through.
This is not the end of the road
So when I heard my pastor speak at this funeral recently, and even though he was talking about death and resurrection, I heard this:
This is not the end of the road.”
Maybe not even for my singing.
Is it possible that God could make a way through even this? That He could restore me, heal my anxiety and my trauma wounds, and give me confidence and ability to do the thing I love most again?
I want to believe, but I must admit I’m skeptical.
How can I have faith when the waves invade and the waters are deep?
Will God truly make a way through the wilderness? Will he open up a path into green pastures? Will he part the ocean for me? For you?
Even though my mind and body say no, I have to remember these words. Words that resonate deep within me, deeper even than my doubt:
This is not the end of the road.
God, please show me the way.
And may He part the waters for you as well.