I pull out those bright, plastic, yellow men that shout–
“Children at Play” to the oncoming cars.
And I see the swarms in our yard and backyard and on the hill behind our house.
Children of life.
But then her email comes…
A heart-friend whose adoption has fallen through.
And she longs for a full house, but
I know that feeling…
That twisting feeling that pinches your heart into a thousand pieces you don’t know how to mend.
And another friend,
A new Christ-follower.
Laying everything down…
She follows Him.
And there’s huge joy and transformation and she gains everything eternal,
But her husband’s job is lost,
And that word–unemployment–it looms large and shadow-like.
And we wonder at the– why?
So just this morning, I wrestle again.
A wife devoted, caring for a husband who cannot live or exist without her.
And her heart jolts with an attack.
And in the pain she dials 9-1-1 but refuses to leave the side,
Of her husband whose own disease wages war against the gift of life.
And out come the questions of confusion.
The stillborn child.
The senseless rampage.
The raging wildfires.
The drought of death.
The wife deserted.
The slain Christ-follower.
And then there is our own story.
One child, so loved, so prayed for…
And because of genes…a genetic code beyond control,
But gone in that first-sense that could-would bring this mama’s heart comfort.
How do you make sense of all this?
Those “Job days”.
“What I feared has come upon me;
What I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25).
How is God good always?
C.S. Lewis grieved,
“If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrow of the world,
I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came.”
It’s on my wall–
“God is good. All the time.”
I pray you not to shout out Romans 8:28…without 29.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
For those God foreknew He also predestined,
to be conformed to the image of His Son…”
Yes–God works all things for His child’s good,
And He defines–
Because His heart for His children is that through
They will become more like Jesus.
That is the– good.
And I believe it,
But only because I know who He is.
Because I’ve seen it…
The way He weaves blessings from strands of heartache.
We walked into the hospital with Selah.
We left the hospital with empty arms, an empty crib, and empty hearts.
And I came home and threw my lifeless body on our bed and wept,
A silent piercing cry,
Deep guttural sobs so heavy they choked out even sound.
Weeping in a pool of mangled love.
But then I pulled out Job.
(And that was only God in His grace goodness…for turning my heart there)
I know that.
Because I easily could’ve been that mama full of hate…and hurt…
That warps forever.
And so these are the hard words.
Hard to say.
And hard to hear.
“Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name.”
I can only whisper it to my hurting friend…
But there is nothing more solid-real-comforting I could say.
And today doesn’t make sense as we look on with vision blurred.
The baby she prayed for, longed for, hoped for, dreamed for…
And in a moment, the tides turn, the waves crash,
And the joy is drown by sorrow.
Slicing pain slashes through hopeful-diapers piled high,
And closets with blue hangers and a new name that pours forth meaning and–
A near-three-year-old who whispers prayers for a sweet, new baby brother.
What words can I say?
Only the hard words…
The solid words.
The words that aren’t just bandaid platitudes, but that point her back to–
Because she knows our Father too…
In that deep way.
And her own words are evidence:
“He will be glorified through us.”
“He has protected us, guided us and now He is leading us still.
So, we will follow and continue to trust Him.”
Hard words to ingest.
But I know she does…
Because she knows God loves her.
And He loves that baby.
And He holds the bit.
And His guiding reins will help her cling tighter to the True Rock–
Cling so tightly that her nails imprint the line.
This is what I’m praying for her tonight.
And for those others who writhe and twist and weep amidst the pain–
I pray their hands will reach out to grip those hard words too.
And that in them they’ll find strength to…
Release and rest,
Grasp and cling,
To our Father’s love-promise.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…” (Lam. 3:21)
That God will cover their faith in His perfect will–
His will to draw blessing from the heartache,
As a path to mold each form and heart and will and being…
More into the image of His Son–
Who lived those hard words Himself.
It would all be different without eternity.
If life was only here and now.
But hard words are rooted in
That changes everything.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave…
His only Son,
That whoever believes in Him,
Would not perish…
But would receive eternal life, in Him…
Christ Jesus, Our Lord.”
I know it’s not easy to swallow…
But tonight I pray you’ll drink deeply with us–
And that His love will satisfy your thirsty soul.
That the hard words
Will bring tender comfort…
And sweet balm to any hurting hearts.
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