I have watched with pride the pain of 3 young men in the past few months. Pride and Pain should not be in the same sentence. Neither should an adjective such as immeasurable be attached to Loss or Pain for kids. The only outlet I have for my own confusion is to write. It heals me. I am broken for 3 boys that have lost one of their parents. I am broken for my own who lost them both at the same time. I went through the depth of loss with Dylan and Olivia 7 years ago. I felt so under-qualified for the task of restoring their hope, their life and the opportunities within it, but I had the role of the one who was called to just that. I had no choice but to embrace the challenge. I suddenly realized in the past few weeks that I am finally restored. My family is restored. My hope is restored...and now it is time to offer others who are hurting...hope. I didn't even realize that it was there until my heart was aching for them that I had something to say...and I feel it just oozing out of me. It is almost uncontrollable. I can only hope they "heard" me. It is not my voice that matters, but God's heart.
How could I possibly have spoken into their desolation if we had not been desolate? How could I have lifted their spirits if ours had not been lifted? And how could I say with certainty that God will show them a measure of favor if He had not shown that to us?
When we are empty and confused, what else matters other than to know that we will be ok? If you are like me, being ok just isn't enough. I want to know that there is an everlasting and enormous hope that stands on the other side waiting for me when I am in pain. I want to know that my God is there and that He will reveal Himself in a way that says He believes that I am worthy of His mercy. How can I be in that place if I am not in pain? How can I watch Him be who He is if I am not who I am...challenged, struggling, confused and uncertain?
So to you INCREDIBLY FAVORED CHILDREN OF GOD (even more of you than perhaps I am referring to specifically as I write)...remember...HE LOVES YOU. HE IS WITH YOU IN YOUR PAIN. HE WILL NEVER ABANDON YOU TO YOURSELF AND YOUR FEARS. The only responsibility He gives you is to choose which direction your mind focuses. That is often where the battle lies. Do not give in to the fears associated with uncertainty. That is a place where your heart can be healed, your purpose born and your passion nutured.
Character is never rich unless it is born out of adversity. CS Lewis, a renowned biblical scholar, has been quoted as saying this: "But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
When we are hurting, people are watching. When we experience tremendous loss and are lost within it, it is much more difficult to understand how we will ever find our hope or a purpose that matters. Our foundation has been shaken and our hearts are crumbling. We just want our life to be "normal" again. We want to smile again without restraint. We want the pain that weighs us down to be lifted so that we can have fun again. We smile, but we hurt. We laugh, but inside we are crying.
I can identify with this emotional process because I have been there. I have watched my own children as they were there. And even now, I am there.
I do not have much figured out about life, but one thing I do know and that is that I would much rather feel this type of pain with the certainty that God is with me and that He will direct my path and that while He may not have chosen it, He will work it for good in my life. Romans 8:28: "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." I know that He has created a purpose for me that is far better than what I could have chosen without Him. While there are plenty of times that I am left in a state of confusion and loss, I only have the ability to express my heart as a result of my experiences, not because I understand it.
I hope this encourages those of you are have lost so much in life. I hope you remember how big God really is. I hope you expect Him to reveal great things in your life and I hope that you stand still and wait...and do not lose heart. That is where I am. It isn't easy to be patient. "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4 : 16 He knows we are weak. He understands our impatience. We may feel our pain is too much to bear, but if we remember Him in it, we will emerge with greater character than the ones who have not endured and therefore we will be capable of making a greater difference in this world due to a greater understanding of what it means to stay the course as we anticipate the result...and it is guaranteed to be difficult as we put one foot in front of the other...but it will be ok.
Sometimes God touches our lives is ways we aren't prepared for. But if we trust Him...we will soon realize that staying the way we "were" is boring and growing into who we "are" is challenging...but satisfying. Who does God want you to become through your pain? You will find you could never become (on your own) who He wants you to be and it will be MORE THAN OK!!!