I can’t answer for anyone else but myself, but I will tell you that I distinctly remember that when my Dad informed me of his prostate cancer diagnosis in 1993, the thought echoed through my mind: “This can’t be happening. This happens to other people… this can’t really be happening.” Each negative event that has occurred in my life has been met with the same disbelief; that is, until I finally became numb to the onslaught.
Horrible things like death, like illness, like abuse, separation and divorce, addiction, negligence, poverty, – these things are hard. They hit us with such a force that we find ourselves curled up on the floor in the fetal position, wondering how we will ever get up again.
We are not meant to live like this. This is not in the Original Design, and we are not wired to expect this torment, or to simply live with it.
So, what then? What do we do when we receive the news that our friend is faced with the return of her dreaded adversary, MS?
What do we do when we read that the family we’ve been praying for may have just heard the worst report possible?
When you are reminded that life and it’s heavy sledgehammer is still wreaking havoc around you, and you can do nothing to stop it?
Well… first you cry. At least, I do.
I weep for the pain I know they are enduring.
For the questions they are asking.
For the hole ripped through their heart, and the anguish that accompanies it.
The sorrow that settles in.
The disbelief. The sick feeling of being alone. Of feeling like they have lost.
And then I pray. First for myself, because I am recalling all the moments of torment that I have had to walk through.
And then I pray for my friends that are facing it right now.
You see, I have learned first-hand that despite the fact that I cannot fix things for them, as much as I long to, I know Someone who is keenly aware of what they are facing, and weeps for them as well.
Not because He is powerless.
Not because He slipped up, and the sh** hit the fan when He wasn’t looking…
But because He understands.
He knows that our lives are filled with unknowns, with pain, with unanswered questions, with despair. It is the nature of this life we live.
But can I tell you a secret?
His hands are not tied.
Now, before you get your panties in a knot, there is no way I’d go prancing up to anyone facing these dire circumstances and spout off a bunch of platitudes about God. I’m not an idiot. I’ve been where they are, though the details may vary, and it is just mean to talk about goodness in the midst of the heaviness weighing on them.
This is just between you, me, and the fence-post, OK?
I may not be able to tell you why the awful stuff happens to us, which may tick certain people off. I get it.
I can share with you that when I wasn’t looking, God showed up and covered me with that Peace that I couldn’t figure out. I cried out to Him and He answered. Not the way I wanted Him to initially, but He did answer, and you know what?
It. Has. Been Amazing.
Those promises in Scripture where God says that if we come close to Him, He’ll come even closer? They’re true.
The wide-open wounds gushing my life-blood have been tenderly and expertly tended to and are healing as we speak. Gentle words of love and devotion have been whispered to my vulnerable heart, and breezes of hope have ushered in new life.
New life that is growing out of the ashes of anguish. Of defeat. Of despair. Of loneliness. And pain.
I don’t know how He does it, exactly, but He does. And it is good… eventually.
There can be beauty again. Even if our lives have been turned inside out, upside down, and burned to the ground.
Life may be hard, but His heart is not. He is Good. And His heart is for you.
You are His Beloved, and He died to show you.
That, my dear, is my secret. Isn’t it good?