If there’s one book I’ve started and finished more than any other, it’s The Cross and the Switchblade, by David Wilkerson.
I recall the first time clearly; reading about the author’s refuge for troubled teens in the ghettos of Brooklyn, and the times when they had nothing to carry them over from one day to the next.
They gathered in earnest, and prayed simply and boldly that God would bring them food for their next meal. I recall the emotions that were stirred in me to read the experiences of those falling back on God for their moment-by-moment needs. The strength of spirit. The weakness of flesh. The clear view to the face of God.
And I envied it. I knew at the time that it was dangerous, but I didn’t care.
And now I can’t help the feeling that I’ve arrived. No, I’m not begging God for my next meal, but I am begging him not to let us go… not to let the Front Porch fail… not to let us fall into financial ruin. And I don’t know whether to thank him for answering my prayer, or hate him for tormenting me when I’m just trying to do what he asked.
Faith is always suspended above a great chasm, as on a bridge. Most of my life, that bridge has been a cable-stayed, 6-lane suspension superhighway. At this moment it may have more in common with a swinging footbridge. And I can see the river thousands of feet below me when I look past my feet, through the remaining boards.
And as long as I’m looking down, it’s easy to despair. As if this is where it ends. The bridge has brought me this far, just to drop me off. So to speak.
But my eyes don’t belong on my feet. Apparently there’s a genre of punk-rock called “shoegazing” because its performers do just that. And that may be ok for a rock band, but not for this metaphor. Because my eyes belong on the landing ahead of me. The story doesn’t end here… I’m only halfway through.
Have you seen (or read) Lord of the Rings? How did you feel when Gandalf (or Aragorn) fell to his death? Did you storm out of the theater? Did you hop onto the web and write a scathing review of what a disappointment the Fellowship of the Ring turned out to be? Of course not… because you knew there was more. This story isn’t over yet.
This story isn’t over yet. It has a middle, and here we are.