It was just a simple prayer my husband said as we laid in bed falling asleep, a sweet prayer really:
“Lord, bring Heather some more deep, godly friendships with other women. She needs that!”
I felt the stinging tears spring to my eyes immediately. Dang! He wasn’t supposed to see that. How’d he know?
He doesn’t know that my oldest friend has basically stopped calling because she is too busy and has other people in her life. He doesn’t know how I struggle every day to shake off the creepy, crawly fingers of depression and discouragement that try to worm their way into my mind and spirit. Or how when I get the mail, I'm hoping that maybe there’s something there to break the monotony. Or how much delight the birds at the birdfeeders bring me, because at least there’s something to fill the void. Like the new fish I just bought. He doesn’t realize that although I do what needs to get done around here, more and more I feel like doing less and less, like I’d rather just sit in front of the television all day and neglect my home duties.
He doesn’t know how much I feel like the spider that I found at the bottom of a cup, the one who curled up in a ball and fell asleep.
It broke my heart to see him there, knees pulled up to his shriveled, dry, lifeless body. How long did he run around that cup after falling off the shelf, looking for some way out, some foothold to get out of the slippery deep? Or maybe it was filled with water and he struggled to get a grip on the wet sides? How long did he wait for me to come along and rescue him? To gently reach down into his hopeless pit and scoop him up and release him into a place filled with life and delight and peace? How long did he hope . . . before he finally pulled his knees up and died?
Honestly, I wanted to cry for that little spider when I saw him. He broke my heart, his little life ending in hopelessness. Alone. Just inches from the top of the cup. So close to freedom, but so far away. I ached that I couldn’t have gotten to him sooner, that I had no idea that he valiantly fought for his life 12 inches from where I did the dishes.
And I felt for him because I identify with him. I see myself in him. How long I wait sometimes for someone to reach down and scoop me out and put me into a place filled with life and delight and peace. But there I sit still, my knees pulled up to my chin. Waiting.
But the hard truth is that God doesn’t always reach down right away and scoop us out to put us in better places. Sometimes, instead, even when we feel like there isn’t anything else we need to give up, He finds something else to prune away. Until there is nothing else in the cup with us. Nothing else to focus on or delight in. Nothing to climb up on so that we can reach the top and pull ourselves out.
Sometimes, He lets us sit at the bottom of a completely empty, slippery cup until we curl up in a ball, pull our knees up to our chins, and cry out, “Lord, I can’t get out. And I have nothing. But I don’t need anything else as long as I have You. Please, if You won’t take me out, meet me here in this empty cup. I can do without everything else, but I desperately need You. Only You.”
And He does! He meets us there, sometimes just sitting next to us in silence, knees pulled to chin, too, with His arm around our shoulder. As much as I appreciate my husband’s prayer and know that there is some truth in it, I don’t really want more friends. I don’t really want to get out of my cup. I just desperately want God to meet me where I am. To come sit with me. Because it’s at the bottom of an empty cup that I learn how truly precious and sufficient His presence, His grace, is.