The Only Way Out Is Through


The only way out is through. 

I can still hear my strong dad of duty and determination speaking these words of truth when my feet were held to the fire and I felt myself suffocating from the smoke of this broken world. A "buck up, buckle down, brush it off and bring it on" military kind of man, his prodding to keep my eyes on the prize and push through the pain is permanently cemented and sealed in my soul. 

The only way out is through. 

These words that mark a faithful father's instruction to his faltering daughter not to faint, to get up when she falls, and to fight the good fight have outlived him, serving as my poignant reminder that bodily death has no power to thwart the spirit or rob the soul. My father's instruction to run fearlessly as I hold fast to all that is good echos in my mind, firing messages of faith that still square my shoulders, steady my heart and strengthen my stride. 

The only way out is through. 

I've lived long enough to know the truth of my father's words, and to respect their bite that can be nastier than their bark. I've lived long enough to know there's no dodging death or ducking darkness; there's no circumventing pain or circling sorrow. My boldest protesting and brattiest pouting have failed to protect me, and my brawniest demands and bravest decrees have proven useless in delivering me. I've lived long enough to learn the energy-conserving power of surrender: surrender to trekking through the waters, trudging through the fire, and traveling through the darkness.  

But our being assured of what's wrong never comes with the assurance of our choosing what's right. It's why I can still catch myself walking away from a problem, not working through a problem. Why I can still find myself immobilized, wallowing in my pain instead of wading through my pain, whining about my hurt instead of walking through my hurt.  

And this immobilization is exactly why I'm so grateful for a Sovereign Savior who is a "buck up, buckle down, brush it off and bring it on" kind of Father, but a Father who perfectly knows me. A Father who knows I'm frail and often faithless; a Father who knows I am weak. A Father who knows when my desire is to soar and I stumble; who knows when my intention is to fly and I falter. 

I'm so incredibly grateful for a Faithful Father who not only knows me perfectly, but who takes pity when my lungs collapse and my muscles constrict. A Faithful Father who has compassion when my heart crushes under the weight of a sagging spirit that has crumbled and a weak will that has caved.

And most glorious of all, I'm thankful for a Faithful Father who finds it his delight to restore that crumbled spirit, refresh that caved will, and revive that crushed heart. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (NIV)  Isaiah 43:2

Our Faithful Father who knows us is with us. A Faithful Father of Light who is there to see us through the darkness. A Faithful Father of Love who delights in restoring, refreshing and reviving us. Over and over and over again.   

The only way out is through.