My mind was racing as I sat in church, unable to focus. Worship and announcements had just ended and the pastor had started his sermon. I needed to get out, get some air. I stood up, squeezed past my parents, and walked out the back door of the sanctuary. I proceeded out of the front doors of the church, and walked straight ahead. The church was fairly isolated, a large building sitting in the middle of a large prairie. A gully made its way through the landscape on one side of the church, with some trees and a little trickle of water running through. I made my way toward the trees, which were about an eighth mile away.
As I walked, I knew I needed to pray. I didn’t want to pray. I didn’t feel as if I had the words to say. I felt so confused, overwhelmed, and broken. So, I walked, and started a choppy conversation with God in my head. As I approached the trees, I came upon a section of the field with glass strewn all over, covering an acre or two. China, milk glass, beer bottles, and porcelain dinery were in shattered pieces. As I made my way through the field of glass, I ceased my prayer and instead pondered what may have happened where I was walking. I at first I thought that maybe someone had used the field as a shooting range, blowing the bottles and plates to bits. However, upon further examination, there were no bullet shells among the glass. So I walked on, speculating the whole way.
As I reached the edge of the deep gully where the trees were, I found a spot to sit that was void of the sharp shards of broken glass. I took a seat in the soft dirt and allowed my mind to refocus on my conversation with God. This time, I started to speak to Him verbally:
“Hey, um, I really don’t know where to start. You know I’m hurting a lot right now.”
It was a casual conversation, as I often spoke to God. But this time it was different. I felt Him sit there across from me. My words didn’t echo off the sides of the deep gully, they weren’t lost in the wind, they were received and welcomed. I know that my words are always heard by God, but this time, I could feel Him listening.
The most natural thing I was wanting to ask was, “Why?” Why had I been through so much lately? Why did I just lose one of my best friends? Why am I sitting on the edge of a gully alone while a church full of Christians sits behind me, none of them noticing my pain? However, I felt God tugging at my heart, telling me that I have no right to ask “why?”
I was okay with that. I continued praying:
“I’m not gonna ask you ‘why.’ I don’t have any right to. You are God and I’m not. It’s as simple as that. You are in control, you have a plan, and that should be enough for me. I only ask that you would continually walk with me, to make me aware of your presence in this time of pain. I ask that you would soothe my pain and heal my wounds. I ask that you would give me strength to carry on and to love those around me unconditionally. I ask that you would give me hope to show the hopeless, and words to speak to the hurting. I won’t ask you ‘why.’ I won’t even ask you to take away this trial. I can only ask that you use this trial to grow me in ways that I have never grown before.”
The conversation lasted for about twenty minutes. There was no “amen” at the end of the prayer. When I am praying alone, I never say “amen.” In its modern use, amen symbolizes finality. Amen symbolizes an end to the conversation. God and I are never done talking. Therefore, it would be weird for me to say farewell when He is by my side all the time.
As I stood up from my spot on the ground, God stood up with me. As I made my way back to the church, God walked right next to me. I stopped to observe a piece of glass that reflected light with all the colors of the rainbow. It was beautiful. I wondered once more why the glass was even there. But, why did it matter? Why couldn’t I just enjoy the beautiful colors and enjoy the mystery? I resolved that I would never know the origins of the field of glass. In the same way, I found peace in the fact that I may never know why I am going through these tough times.
I knew that I should not be worried about how I was going to get through that time of brokenness, but rather, I was to step back, and look at the beautiful pieces that had resulted from my pain. Just as glass is still beautiful when it shatters, a person can still find hope in their brokenness.
“Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”