Light in the darkness
That is who you are” – Way Maker
Yesterday I got news that a friend died from cancer. He leaves behind a wife, family and friends who are grieving his death. Tonight at church I had a hard time singing these lyrics to this song as I was processing my friend’s death. All a sudden I could not sing these words because I started to question why God did not heal my friend. If He is the miracle worker and promise keeper, why did He not heal my friend on this earth so that his family and friends do not need to feel this pain of him not being on this earth anymore?
There are many questions you ask when you are grieving and hurting. And it is hard to understand why God did not heal my friend on this earth. Why did my friend’s healing needed to include his death on earth? Why did he have to die at such young age? Why does his family and friends have to go through this pain? I do not have answers for these questions. I am a person that likes to know why. I do not know why my friend died and this truth is hard to grapple with.
Death has a hurt associated with it on earth as we as humans grieve a loss. Because this pain hurts and it is so real. I have felt it in the past and feel it now. Emotions are real and they are given to us by God to help process and experience life. But sometimes we have to be careful that we do not get caught in the hamster wheel of hopelessness when we are processing and experiencing our emotions.
In a time of grief, we can feel hopeless in our pain. But reality is that we can feel hope in a hopeless time. Tonight as a wrote out what I was feeling in my planner, I came to the conclusion that Jesus is my hope. Because He the source of my hope, I can have hope even when it seems hopeless. He does not break His promises to us. He is the source of miracles whether they are received here on earth or in heaven. He is a way maker when it seems like there is no way out. And my feelings do not negate these truths in this moment or any other moment.
Hannah in the Bible experienced this. In the midst of her pain of being barren, she cried out to God with her emotions but she anchored her hope in God even though her situation and pain did not change immediately. Her situation was hopeless and seemed impossible. Eventually she did receive her miracle of a son.
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” 1 Samuel 1:10-20
So tonight as I write this blog post, I may not understand why my friend’s death occurred. And the emotions I am feeling are real but tonight I chose to believe God’s truth over my emotions. And I choose to anchor my hope in Jesus because He helps to carry my emotions as I walk this journey in what may seem hopeless at times.
Recently I have been faced with one of the hardest things that I have had to go through in my adult life. While I am still in the midst of it all, there are a few things I have learned in last couple weeks.
He is here with me in my sadness.
He is here with me in the joyous moments.
He is here with me in the moments that I don’t understand.
He is here with me when I pretend to be ok and ignore my feelings.
He is here with me when I don’t understand my feelings and can’t put a name to it.
There is a song that I have been identifying with the last couple weeks.
Maybe it’s ok if I’m not ok
‘Cause the One who holds the world is holding onto me
Maybe it’s all right if I’m not all right
‘Cause the One who holds the stars is holding my whole life
“Maybe It’s Ok”by We are Messengers.
While I don’t know when this will end, I do know that God with me in the midst of the storm. He is teaching me new things in this storm. I trust Him in the midst of the storm.
If you are going through a hard season in life, look at what you can learn through it all. Look to the peace in the storm rather than focusing on the storm.
You knew the shame and guilt I would struggle with and you still chose to create me!
You knew my failures in my life and you still chose to create me!
You knew the fears that would hold me back and you still chose to create me!
You knew my frustrations and you still chose to create me!
You knew my struggles and you still chose to create me!
You knew the insecurities I would struggle with and you still chose to create me!
You knew the pain and hurt I would carry and you still chose to create me!
You knew there were things I am going to choose over you and you still chose to create me!
You knew everything about me and you still chose to create me!
I created you because I knew that this world needed you in it. I created you for a purpose that only you can fill. And guess what, when I created you I told all of heaven with delight “look there is my beautiful daughter!” “My daughter, I love you more than you can imagine. Daughter, just as the grains of sand at the beach, the stars in the sky and the rain drops in a rain storm can not be counted. My love for you can not be counted.”
In life, we have some days when we are celebrating and other days when we are struggling. But no matter where we are at in any particular day, we can have a peace in our Father. The song “It is Well with my soul” was written in some of the toughest circumstances. But yet the writer, Horatio G. Spafford, was still able to say it is well with my soul.
Although Horatio was a successful business man in Chicago, him and his wife had several loses within a couple years. They lost their son at a young age in 1871. Then went on to lose most of his business the same year in a fire. Two years later, Horatio’s wife Anna and his 4 daughters were on a ship headed to Europe from the U.S. The ship they were collided with another ship. As a result of the collision, his four daughters died. Anna was the only one that survived from the family. Anna sent a message to Horatio “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Horatio booked a passage to join his wife. While he was on the ship headed to his wife, he wrote this song.
“When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul
It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul” by Horatio G. Spafford
This is one of the most beautiful hymns written in history. Some of the most beautiful things come out of the most broken people or circumstances. This song was written by a man whose heart was broken and lost almost everything in a short span of time.
After hearing this story, this song has become my favorite hymn. It is also reminder to me that even when life is hard and it does not make sense, it is well with my soul. Because of who my Savior is. He is Sovereign, Prince of Peace, the ultimate Lover, Comforter, Rock, Redeemer and Deliver.
So when life is tough, confusing, uncertain and painful, we can say it is well with my soul because of who our Savior is. I challenge you to find joy and peace in your Father as Horatio did in tragic times. It is in these moments that when we find what we need in God, we are hopeful And hope is what gives the strength to go to the next moment and to keep going from there.
Recently I had pictures a friend took pictures of me. As I was looking at these pictures, I started to pick apart everything I did not like about my body. And it spiraled from there. I did not see the joy on my face from twirling around in my bright yellow dress that billowed out. And I did not see my pretty blue eyes that were passed down from generations before me. I did not see the passion I have to serve others.
I posted a few of the pictures on Facebook. I had encouraging comments made by friends. These comments lifted my self esteem for the time being.
Late on when I was texting a friend, I was reminded I am a daughter of the King. And what He says about me is more important than what I think of myself or what others think of me. We should be going to our Creator first instead of others. And I need to rest in what He says about me. Because He knows everything about me including all my flaws. And if my Creator who sees everything about me still loves me and thinks I am beautiful, how can it get better than that!
While getting encouragement from others is not wrong, it is wrong when I look for validation in people rather than my Creator. Most of the time when we have these moments, it is Satan’s distraction to our purpose that we were created for. If Satan can distract us with thinking about what is wrong with us rather than about our purpose, then Satan has us right where he wants us. Because it is saying that when God created us it was not good enough. Reality is when God created us, He created us exactly how He wants us to be.
God made you for a specific purpose and with out you in this world there would be a piece missing in God’s plan. Some days I think God looks at the world as a puzzle and we are all piece in that puzzle. Each piece of puzzle serves a purpose in a puzzle. So if we do not fulfill the purpose we are created for then a piece will be missing in God’s masterpiece. Let’s celebrate who God created us to be!! And find our identity in our Creator and not in other people.
Photo credit goes to Jennifer Weaver.