As the night creeps along, the cool air falling colder, I feel the fingers of despair working their way across my heart.  I ache this evening.  So much so, that I cannot focus on the writing I must finish before the morning.  It is because of the hopeless feeling that dear friends have tonight.  Having been set free graciously from the myopia of hopelessness, my desire to see them set free is pressing against the rib cage in my chest.  They also ache as well.  The time stretches longer and longer.  What we are in is temporary, the trials will eventually pass.  But, when it happens to ourselves, we can find our breath and hold fast until the dawn comes.  When it happens to those we love, we start drowning on their behalf, grasping and gasping and failing and flailing.  Even if we know the truth, have experienced the freeing grace, we are confronted with the impotence of our own actions.  We turn to the Lord hoping and pleading for immediate release from the ties that bind our loved ones.  The answer of “not yet” isn’t a valid response to us.  The amazing gift of my wife is in the other room, and I cannot slam my fists against the walls or pound against the desk beneath my hands.  I don’t want to share my anxiety and ruin her rest.  In this I taste the bitter conflict.  I imagine the mothers and fathers watching their children struggle, and am confronted with an iceberg’s tip of the anguish they feel.  The dichotomy of having to be granite pillars for the ones we would die for mirrored against wanting to crumble into a ball on the floor and sob is too much to bear.  So, in the middle of the night, I softly cry out.  For I know that my Lord understands the groaning within me, and I remind Him of His promises on behalf those folks beset upon on behalf of their families.  My feeble words accomplish little, and yet I feel unable to do anything except sit here kneeling and breaking.  My eyes scour the blackness on the other side of my office window.  As if an answer might contrast against the darkness there.  The reflection flickers with the light of my computer flashing across the pane, and all I can do is sigh, feeling left wanting.  Heavy, deliberate, impatient… Trying to trust while the tough trials linger like chains.  Praying to be prisoners of hope instead of free people fooled by optimism.  So, I wail silently.