Some things are too hard, too much, unbearable, really. What do we do when we find ourselves face to face with such things?
I know people who have recently received difficult diagnoses of one kind or another. Some of us are in a season of letting go. Some of us are digesting news that does not fit with our plans or dreams or life as we prefer it to be.
And of course the world news and media now brings us hour by hour tales of shootings, shortages, bombings or natural disasters that seem like just too much.
I learned a new word recently. One I had to even google because I just didn’t know it. Abeyance. Maybe you know it. I did not.
Abeyance means to hold things in suspension. It can be a legal term. The funny example I saw said, Message from the groom: Hold the wedding in abeyance until I get out of jail.
I saw it used in a spiritual way in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Come to Me with your plans held in abeyance. (Jesus Calling, May 18 entry)
That’s when it dawned on me that the word abeyance, even though I did not know it, is exactly what I have learned to do with all the things that are too hard, too much, too unbearable.
I can even visualize the spiritual act. You place the unbearable thing in your hands. Some of these hard things we can’t even look at because they hurt our eyes and shred our hearts. Look away if you have to. Hold your hands up as high as you can to get that thing close to God. Then just hold it there in God’s Light. You don’t try to fix it. You don’t try to plan your way out of it. You shield your heart from the pain of it and just hold it there, as long as you need to, in abeyance, in suspension, in God’s healing Light.
I mentioned recently that our youngest son is going into the US Army. It happened this past week. He is now sworn in as a 2nd Lieutenant and will report for duty in July. I am so proud of him. He feels it as a calling and I get that. At the same time, it feels so tender to me that I have to put it in my hands and hold it up to God’s Light, suspending all my idea and worries and just let God work on it.
I’ve also recently learned that I have something going on with my hip possibly related to my breast cancer treatment which began 10 years ago. The bone in my left hip has deteriorated past the point of no return. Fortunately, there is a surgical solution but I don’t want to look at it, think about it or plan for it. It feels unbearable to me, as does the pain. I’m holding it to God’s Light, in suspension for now. I can barely talk about it and am shocked I am writing about it.
We all have something that needs that Light. We all have something too big to bear. Some have layers of things right now. I know a pastor who recently received a devastating diagnosis. No one can fix it. We can, though, help hold it to God’s Light. In my mind, I can see the healing power of thousands of people holding a shared unbearable thing up together, can you?
Practice the spiritual act of abeyance. Just hold it up, as high as you can, and let God’s healing, transforming, resurrecting Light make it bearable.
In abeyance, Amen.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor, Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. To read more blogs, learn about the Weekly Jesus Calling Prayer Call, and see other events and happenings, go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com.