I’m thinking about you today. Holidays don’t make everything better, do they? Holidays only stop the routine distractions that keep you from thinking and shove the reality into your tiny tent of safety. Reality echos off the emptiness. The things you used to bake aren’t welcome on that table anymore. Life goes on without you and you’re still here to feel the loss. They have each other and you have your emptiness.
Something I learned in that tent is that all the meaning I used to give these weeks of whirl are drowned out by the deeper meaning of what they’re really about. Instead of my ability to create a magical experience, I was whittled down to complete inability to right my wrongs and fix my mistakes. When I was unable to create meaning, Meaning found me. The removal of routine distractions forced me to see what had real Meaning.
It’s a quiet voice that won’t let you die. It’s as without effort as your heartbeat and your never ending breath in and breath out. You can’t stop life no more than you can create it. You can’t will yourself dead just like the dying can’t will themselves more time. The fact that you’re still alive is proof that you still have purpose. It all has purpose. The pain of emptiness, loneliness, and brokenness have a purpose and no one can save you from it. You may not know it right now, (I’m almost positive that you don’t), but your pain is your salvation…real salvation, not sentimental salvation. No one can save you from what becomes your salvation.
The fact that you’re still here is proof that your story isn’t over. That kind of hope is stronger than your strength to make it out of the desire to make it. You know you’re at the bottom when you no longer have the desire to make it, but life won’t let you go. There is still hope of rescue when physical death won’t rescue you.
I want to challenge you to reject self-pity. I know, at times, it has become your comfort. I know that self-pity carries a cheap hope that someone will see your eyes and do something to take your pain away. But, if someone can do that for you, then it alleviates your need for Jesus. Don’t do that. Don’t look to a person to do what only He can. I promise you, even though He feels like He’s keeping His distance, just like everyone else, He’s not. Your suffering is only for a moment in the big collection of moments.
Suffering from your own failure is aggressive because there is no relief to be found in guiltlessness. Guiltlessness doesn’t exist.
This is me offering a silent nod in your direction because I recognize where you are. I know how bad it hurts. But, more than knowing the suffering, I know the rest. I know what is coming and I have no doubt in your survival. I see your suffering as birth pains. You can’t rescue a woman from labor because you would take the new life away from her. Like a woman in labor, embrace the suffering with hope. Hope is the balm for the pain.
You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. -1 Peter 5:9-11 MSG
Those of us who have been through it, like women who can recount every moment of childbirth, sit and marvel at the miracle. You don’t fully understand unless you’ve been through it, and those who have love to tell the story. You’re going to have your own story soon. You’ll be able to sit around a table of Thanksgiving with new meaning and new life. All the old that you thought was real will fade in comparison.
Will you do something today? I know you don’t feel like it, I know it seems useless, but will you bake something? Bake something as a testament to the fact that you’re still alive. Eat at a table even though some of the chairs are empty. They won’t always be empty. Bake a meal as a labor of hope. It lets the wolves know that they have not yet sucked every last drop of blood from your veins.
Take this promise from God and use it to get through the next few weeks. I know it hurts, but there is hope. I know this because I have seen it. He knows where you are, that you’re in exile. He knows that everything has been destroyed, and He knows how bad it hurts. He’s not leaving you there, He’s making something new. He’ll never leave you, even if everyone else does.
This exile is just like the days of Noah for me: I promised then that the waters of Noah would never again flood the earth. I’m promising now no more anger, no more dressing you down. For even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you, my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.” The God who has compassion on you says so. -Isaiah 54:9-10 MSG
The God who has compassion on you says so.