There's been a lot of the crazy-broken going on lately. And honestly, I'm tired.
Tired of hearing all the sad things, all the un-mended things, all the reminders that this one life is over faster than we know it...
Tired of the aching feeling in the soul that makes you wish you could slow down time, make all the hurting stop for awhile.
Tired of the constant thought that bears down on every pain-inflicted heart: where in the world, in all this broken world, is God?
It's been a seemingly never ending string of hard news: people walking away from God, taking their one life and deeming it hopelessly un-redeemable and therefore worth ending, watching cancer waste away a youthful husband and father and ultimately hasten his eternal arrival, the sweet elderly man at church being recently diagnosed with the on-set of alzheimer's and the prospect that in the future he may never know or recognize anybody...it's all a bit much.
And through all this not-okay, has been the return of a voice that hasn't let humanity go since the beginning of it all in the Garden - the lying invitation to return to your dark places in the vulnerability of your sadness. To go to the odd safety of the past, to live in the vain regrets because God can't be seen in the present. That faith can't hold up. The Enemy-voice has been after us all and seems to speak louder in the moments you are the weakest.
I share all this not to complain about my one life but to relate to your life. To all our lives. Because I'm sure you're dealing with your own crazy-broken this week too. You may be facing your own fear-mountains, your own tempting moments of doubt, your own tendencies to live your one life in the rear-view mirror. And through it all you may feel alone. And yet, none of us are ever fully alone.
I sit down to my devotions this morning, and these words seem to jump out at me from the page I read: "God often brings His people into such a condition that they do not know what to do. He does this that they might know what He can do. God is with His people at all times, but He is most sweetly with them in the worst of times," said Puritan preacher Thomas Lye. And it runs deep into my fogged-up soul - I don't know what to do. I can't stop all this loss, this pain, this grief. I can't end all this broken. But in the midst of it all is a call to trust. Once again, to believe. To have faith. To choose the "yes" when everything in me screams the "no!"
I open the palms of clenched fists and realize that my doubts have no place in this journey of Grace. All that takes place is with a good end in mind. God is not writing the story without full intent to redeem all things. To redeem me. And there's no way to accept that unless one keep telling one's self the truth: that God is always with you, His plans are always good, and you are always loved.
I face yet another day, unsure of what other crazy-broken may happen in this 24 hours given. But somehow I must keep choosing Gospel - "good news" in the midst of bad news abundant. Because the One at the heart of it all promises that the worst of times can always run in blessing because there is no harsh purpose behind what He has allowed. Even those things which break our souls right in two and make us question every hope, every dream, every honest-to-goodness truth we've ever believed in...even those can be re-made into something beautiful. When the crazy kicks in, God reigns large.
And the solution to soul-heaviness isn't to ask God to remove pain. It isn't to run from the ache and imagine it's not there. It isn't to shake a closed fist and curse the whole wide wailing world and give in. It's to praise. To bless. To give thanks.
It runs against everything my heart feels...but then again, that's my trouble. Feelings aren't my ruler. Their only my heart-reactions to the good as well as the un-okay. But truth? That is what must over-ride the affections. Surrendered soul falling deeper into Grace. Deeper into God. Trusting that abundant life still happens and that all trials can produce a better, re-made me.
I call to mind all the remembrances of His grace in recent times...all the little things that have showed mercy and hope in the midst of such brokenness. And I pray for open hands. I ask Him to help me let go. Because I know I can't become whom I'm supposed to change into without it. I repeat the recent love-words of friends who promise to never leave, of those who continue to show Jesus to a fearful one who is me. And I keep on praying, praising Him because I know He's still working...even if my sight is a bit blinded by my lack of faith.
And so...I step into another week, seeking forgiveness for my self-love, my doubts, my fears and placing my trembling hands opening into the firm grasp of my Savior. I give my shattered heart over and trust that all this will be resurrected into beautiful. He whispers it to my pounding heart and bids my heaving chest to stop its racing: I am already in your tomorrows. You are right in that you don't know what to do. But I do. And that is enough.