A few years ago when daddy died I was sitting in my car on the Natchez Trace Parkway exit between Jackson and Nashville, Tennessee.  Dad was in Jackson.  Every emotion flowed out wet with pain.  Each tear was heavy with nameless vitals that appear in no anatomy textbook, but are just as real in substance.  Only two other trials in my life compare to it.  To find my way through them — not unaltered, not unchanged, not unscarred — I had to learn to express my “yet” and affirm my faith.

“Yet” is a  kind of craving.  It is a brand of yearning.  It is a dry and desperate thirst that puts hands out and palms up to the downward pull of melancholy.  “Yet” reverses that shocking reaction to the ultimate adversity.  What you are facing is colossal in magnitude.  It draws from deep within and leaves a wound of emptiness which pressures your insides into an emotional knot like mental nausea.  Your insides are wrung through a razor blade strainer; but yelling out “yet!” puts on the breaks with a heavy foot.  The black streaks are laid out in parallel lines on the roadway.  The power of two hundred horses screeches to a stop so that the direction can begin to change.  The controls are manipulated into reverse and the conversion is acute with self-determination.   It takes everything you’ve got.  When you face the most severe of trials, grace is there and God is assisting; but it seems as though Jesus is calling on you to extend your energies to the point of exhaustion.  

That is “yet.”  Following it, an endowment beyond self governance begins to take hold.  The flow from the deep artisan well rushes to the surface and restores you — wounded and scarred — to the embrace and solace that, though spiritual, is more solid that brick walls and stone floors.  Though spiritual, this respite is an inexhaustible nest egg.  Though spiritual, this deliverance — this saving — is stronger than any enemy, army or illness.  

In slavery to a brutal enemy, far from the ravaged homeland confiscated by vandals, the lamenter wrote, “Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!  I say, ‘The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him’” (Lamentations 3:21-24).  

When the Levite part of the family entered the promised land they were not granted an allotment of land like the other brothers.  And so this saying became part of their language, “The Lord is my portion.”  The Levites had much to be thankful for in that they lived off the tithes of their brothers.  Cities were set aside for them with gardens outside secure walls.  Now all the family, a conquered nation, had been stripped of their every possession.  It is compelling to me that after crying “Yet” they could reach back and declare like the Levites, “The Lord is my portion.”  In the haven where the courage to have hope is born, they came to the view that their empty estate could not hinder God’s provision.  Like the Levites living off the tithes, it was spiritually abundant and would sustain them forever.  

Stephen Williams