And sometimes - like in Job's case - the strength to get through means simple blind faith. One feeble step at a time. A single-minded determination to stay the course - to not curse God - to cry out to Him with every single breath taken. It is in those times, when the burden is beyond carrying, that we learn truly what faith is all about.
Beaten, bruised, knocked down, wondering, questioning, grieving, crying, believing, hoping, clinging and perservering. One single solitary step at a time. Weeping as we go. Longing for the light at the end of the tunnel. Reaching for the light. Placing hope in the only One who can see us through. Recognizing that without Him, we could not bear what has been dealt to us.
This week is one of those weeks for both the Davis and the Hook family.
Both are walking in a valley that is filled with mist and terror that none of us would ever choose to enter - if we had a choice.
They would not have chosen it for themselves either.
God was wise to not allow them to see what was coming around the bend when they stepped out in faith so many months ago to rescue two little children with Down Syndrome.
It seemed so easy then. Fill out this paperwork, pay these bills, jump through these hoops and you get a child at the end of the rainbow. The Davis family's journey first led them to one precious treasure that they had to let go before they landed with Kiril,l firmly planted deep into their hearts. For the Hook family, it has been one long delay after another. But because they were taking it one single step at a time, they kept plodding ahead. Fixing their eyes on the prize. Despite the delays, twists, turns and setbacks, they were able to move ahead - always hoping for the end of the rainbow.
This week, both families stand - trying to figure out what happened to the rainbow and wondering how in the world they are going to pass through the dark valley looming ahead of them.
The burden is beyond their ability to carry alone. The journey that started out so easy has ended with a mountain whose top is shrouded in dark mist. If left to rely on their own strength, they could not endure what is being asked of them.
The Hook family is being asked, on Thursday, to face a judge and prosecutor who less than two weeks ago turned a deaf ear on the pleas of their dear friends for the life of their son. They will make the same pleas for the life of their daughter. They have been told that denial is highly likely.
The Davis family is appealing their case. If they win, they will go back to that same judge and prosecutor, face her again and plead again for their son.
The possibility that they could go through all of this and still not come out with a child in their arms is a gut-wrenching reality that both families have had to face. It has brought them to their knees. It has given them pause to wonder and question. But they are not giving up. They are choosing to stand. Stand and fight. Against all odds. Battle weary - beaten - scared - frail. But focused and trusting. In simple blind faith they are believing that though the valley is dark, and the mountain is high and treacherous, and the way out may not take them where they would choose to go, they will not stop clinging to the One they committed their lives to many years ago. Whispering all the way through this valley that God is Good - He is good. Believing that in the end, when the dust has settled, they will be left singing the Praises of the One who carried them through.
"I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end He will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see Him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!" Job 19:25-26
And we stand with them, thousands strong, surrounding them. Reminding them again and again that they stand not alone. As they step blindly ahead, in simple trusting faith - they are not alone. For God has raised up an army to help breathe into them the strength they need to face the mountain that looms ahead. They are not alone. Across the nation - across the world - we stand. Whispering prayers throughout our day as we quietly now wait for the political process to take its course. Asking God to shine His light - to dispel the darkness that surrounds that mountain. Praying that Kirill and Eva and Baby J will be set free. Praying too for the other little ones in that area who are desperately in need of families. Praying. Vigilant. Strong. They are not alone.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12 :1-3