“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9
Life has a way of becoming overwhelming. As Shakespeare writes in Hamlet, “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions,” so life tends to buffet us on every side. How easy it is for us to lose ourselves within the midst of our troubles.
Sorrows and struggles engulf us as we try to walk our path in this world. Waves of disappointment crash over us, causing us to lose our footing, casting us down. But as a wrestler who has been thrown to the mat, we too can push ourselves once more upon our feet.
As I read the Apostle Paul’s words, I was roused as a soldier before battle. Even though we are hard pressed, even though we are confused, persecuted and struck down by the slings and arrows of this world, we need not be overthrown. As the battles of this world rage, we have a support, we have a hope. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4: 17) So then as a runner within a race, we must fix our eyes upon the goal, never forgetting why we run. And beside us, the Master keeps our pace, encouraging and supporting us as we press on toward the finish line.
As the waves of life threaten to overtake you, keep your eyes upon Jesus. But know this, that if you begin to sink within the turbulent sea, He is there, reaching for you. Look up and grasp His hand and He will pull you to safety.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~2 Corinthians 4:18
Life for Susan Van Volkenburgh was good. She was often told that God had placed a golden star upon her life. Then tragedy struck. On September 11, 2001 at 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 plummeted into the Pentagon, taking the lives of 184 innocent people. One of them was Susan’s father, Stanley R. Hall. At that moment, everything changed for Susan. Everything she knew, everything she ever believed in, came crashing down. Her life began to unravel.
How could she face God in light of all that had happened? How could she ever trust Him again? Wasn’t God supposed to protect His own? Nothing made sense anymore.
This ten-year journey through the desert, through a land where God was silent, was a time of trial and of spiritual awakening. Could faith endure in the face of so great a loss, so large a betrayal?
Transcending the events of September 11, this spiritual odyssey moves through the mire of grief and loss, to question the very motives and promises of God. As Susan asks the tough questions, can the silent resolve of her own father speak to her from beyond the veil? Is there a place for faith when God has let you down?
Susan Van Volkenburgh’s debut book was chosen as a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest. Her honest and revealing narrative portrays the anguish suffered when tragedy strikes, leaving the remnants of a life changed. With lyrical inflection, Susan takes the audience through the pain of grief and loss to a place of resolution.