What a crazy week it’s been. I’m struggling to articulate what I’ve been through without sounding unnecessarily dramatic, so I won’t try. But can I ask you, whoever you are reading this, to please pray for me?
In an attempt to escape the last remnants of hopelessness in my mind, I want to tell you a story of a time I surrendered, and in my vulnerability, my ever faithful God answered me.
It was exactly seven months to this very day. It was a sunny morning in Zermatt, Switzerland, and eight friends excitedly embark on a journey upwards the Swiss Alps. I can’t speak for my seven other travel buddies, but from as early as I can remember, Switzerland was a country I always wanted to travel to. I remember being as young as seven and first hearing the name of the country – “Switzerland – what a fancy name, one day, I’ll go there!”. Twenty-two years later, there I was, living and breathing in it’s fresh cold air.
As we sat in the cable car, with the view of Zermatt all around us, it felt so surreal. Seriously, to this very day, I can’t find the right words to describe what we saw and how we felt. I held back my tears because I just wanted to live in the moment and not get too emotional. After 20 or so minutes, we stopped over at Trockener Steg, where we got our first mountain top glimpse of the Swiss Alps. We spent a good hour or so taking photos, and taking it all in, the atmosphere, the view, the joy, the realness of it all. The weather was perfect, it was cold, but not too cold to stop us from enjoying it. And from time to time, the sun would come out to remind us of His warm, loving embrace.
After taking advantage of this photo opportunity, we made our way to another cable car to reach a higher peak – 3,883 metres high, to be exact. During what seemed to be a long walk between Trockener Steg and the next cable car stop was when I first started feeling lightheaded, and short of breath. You hear about the physical struggles one may experience with the lack of oxygen while travelling up a mountain but it’s another thing to feel it. At the time, I didn’t want to voice my distress to my travel mates because I didn’t want to worry them. But honestly, I also selfishly didn’t want to miss out. I was having a FOMO moment, and I told my body “not here, not now!”. So I kept going.
When we got to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, which is supposedly the highest cable car station in all of Europe, my physical struggles got worse. The air felt thin and I honestly thought I was going to faint if I didn’t control my breathing. But I kept going. When the lift door opened to a set of stairs, my excitement quickly wore off and it turned into a mental battle.
You see, this was something I wanted for so long. Maybe I had forgotten about this desire because I got distracted with, well, life! But when we started planning our European travels, Switzerland was on the top of my list and 11 months later, there we were! I wasn’t about to stop and go back down the mountain because my body couldn’t handle it. Leading up to this trip, I had been through a lot physically (a story for another day) which put me on the sidelines for months and I wasn’t going to let it make me miss out on anything again. At least not this! So I kept going.
I climbed those stairs. It was hard. I was crying. I was struggling to breathe. Then I paused and looked up. And that’s when I saw Him. With arms wide open, crucified on the Cross, He welcomed me.
I ran to Him and sang underneath what felt like the last of my breath…
“Lord I need You, oh I need You. Every hour, I need You.”
Within an instant, I felt free from my physical struggles. Believe it or not, but I immediately started breathing regularly, and my lightheadedness disappeared. I was healed. I was set free. And because I was no longer held back by my physical inabilities, I was able to fully live in the moment. I had the best time up that mountain. He knew my heart’s desires and all I had to do was cry out to Him.
Sometimes, that’s all we need to do. Take our struggles, our shortcomings, our inadequacies, our incompleteness, be human and cry about it, then lift it up to Him. This is something we need to choose to do every single day.
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” Psalm 118:5
I wanted to share this story because this week, I surrendered, so many times. I broke down while quietly drinking a cup of tea. I broke down in the shower. I broke down while messaging a friend in my state of vulnerability. I broke down while talking on the phone with a friend who is currently 16,024 kms away. I broke down in front of my laptop while feeling overwhelmed with my insecurities and my incapabilities. And each time I broke down, I surrendered.
He may literally answer me today, or tomorrow, or next month.
But He has already set me free.
“If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful, and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed.” — Pope Benedict XVI
Surrendering, over and over again, – M.