It’s a season of life where it is difficult to see clearly. I easily feel as if I am walking blind, barely able to make out the shapes ahead and, too often, nearly stumbling over something that I once would have seen coming a mile away.
I nearly succumb to fear, my heart pounding and hands shaking as worry sinks its talons into my mind. I am raising kids in a world that is so different from the one in which I grew up. Not only is every tragedy easily broadcast from screen-to-screen and phone-to-phone, but so is every embarrassing moment or stupid teenage failure. There is no room for grace in a world that judges you by your profile picture and the number of likes on your Instagram post.
Or is there?
Hard news came twice this week. A baby left motherless due to a terrible car accident, her father struggling to figure out how to do this without the beautiful nurturer by his side. A young woman widowed because of cancer, a father and mother grieving for their only son. Once again, it is easy to be brought down and doubt the goodness of God.
Where is the grace? Where is the hope? We have to search, sometimes, but if we do it can be found…
It is in overhearing my child tell a heartbroken friend they are praying for them.
It is in the story shared of how he saw angels before he passed away.
It is in the gathering of God’s people to be the hands and feet of Jesus for a daddy who is trying to figure out what is next.
It is in the Bible Study where, instead of a bunch of church ladies who are there to showcase their knowledge, there is a room full of women who beautifully admit their brokenness and need.
It is in the answer to my prayer for help resulting in my precious ones who struggle with learning finding a place where they are celebrated and loved and encouraged but never labeled.
It is in the sweet reminder that this is not my home…and neither is it yours, my friend.
We so quickly forget when the stress clamps down like a vice. Determined to find our way out, we forget that we have no strength apart from our Father. He stands with His hands wide open, offering Himself in all His fullness, yet we refuse to reach out. Sure, we like knowing He is near and “He has a plan” but what if there is more?
What if God is not satisfied with our shopping list of prayer requests and is trying desperately to draw us deep, to allow suffering and tragedy to shape us because death is not the end, sin is not the final state of of His children, and we were never meant to become “Church ladies?”
What if, in brokenness and the admission of our desperate need for grace, is found the pearl of great price, the treasure buried in the hard dirt of a field that must be dug up with blood, sweat and tears in order to be cradled in our hands and gently polished to shining?
We want it easy. At least I do. I hate hard and I try everything I can to avoid it. So often I want to shake my fist at God and yell “I didn’t sign up for this! You picked the wrong person! I am not equipped to handle what you are laying on me!” If I am completely honest, I don’t just want to say those things, I actually do say them. But God is not deterred nor is He surprised. In love, He refines and polishes and will not stop until Jesus is reflected in me. I didn’t sign up for it, but He did.
One of these days, I pray I learn to stop striving and allow Him to be strong for me. I pray I quit depending on earthly knowledge and let the Holy Spirit teach me from His infinite knowledge. And I pray that I stop asking Him to help me do what needs to be done and allow HIM to do it.
I pray that I can be like the young widow, who in an act of incredible faith, will not be wearing black to her husband’s funeral. She has seen the Lord’s mercy in suffering, she has seen the face of her husband as he got his first glimpse of eternity, and she is going to turn her eyes upon Jesus and celebrate through her tears.
Refiner’s fire, my heart’s desire is to be holy…set apart for you, Lord. ~Bryan Doerksen