We got married in the rain, and it felt a lot like a steady stream of God’s grace. Cold and windy, and yet mixed with His providence and joy, and it kind of felt like our story since the beginning. Our own storms have looked different throughout the years, the passing of his mother, the beginning of my sickness, the breaking apart of my family. Perhaps sometimes God allows events that pick us up and shake us continuously to see if our joy, trust, and love for Him will fall out along with everything else we’re losing.
I think one of the biggest traits God wishes to create is the bravery of our hearts. As I got progressively sicker, what I thought was fear setting in was actually fear being pulled out. It was almost on cue, the way my fears crept their way out of my being to reveal themselves, fears I had no former acquaintance with. And all too often this extraction of fear feels like the scariest ride of all. Most of my hidden fears have come true in the past couple years…I was very afraid to grow up and end up sick like my mom, I felt the rejection I feared most, through the misunderstanding from friends and family who I loved the most. My fear of change was rocked to the core as every part of my world shifted greatly and the new greeted me almost overnight. My fear of not being good enough was played upon by my parents, my worth unknowingly twisted by my father…
He’s purifying all of us, and if there’s one thing God doesn’t do, it’s completing anything halfway. These removals of fear, in all of us, perhaps aren’t so much showing what is coming out but what has always been there: a desperate longing for the steady, unconditional love only He can give.
But to trust Him amidst all the pain and confusion, especially when He can utter one command and all of this could disappear, and yet doesn’t? That dawns probably the greatest struggle of all.
It feels as though we’re all like Jacob, wrestling with God, just begging to be touched by Him–wearing equally our awe and fear of the power in His holy being.
To trust Him in the dark…to stop your flailing arms and desperate screams for a familiar figure or small piece of light…that is the biggest and one of the most important things you can do.
I’ve listened to Susie Larson tell of how her Lyme came back and stole her life for another year, how “it was the absolute fight of [her] life,” and listened to the others share their stories, with his cancer coming back, her chronic pain for eleven years now, their struggle to have children, her aching for her failing marriage, her struggle to choose life in her sickness…and I cry with them each for the pain that is too well known during their ever present knocking at heaven’s door.
Maybe you, too, have wrestled the silent cries of anger through the steady tears, in bed at night after your husband falls asleep. Or struggled with the fresh taste of inadequacy, heartbreak, and confusion thrown at you by those unknowing. This stream built from years of heavy rain has left you wet, cold and unmoving, as you’ve watched everything you’ve known float away. This dark around you that has now crept inside as well.
This trudging through the tunnel, this bearing of our broken and tired souls, this is the hard and aching cry of the soldiers, those who have tasted darkness and yet still seek the light.
He is making us brave.
Our trials cannot produce a darkness that cannot be cured, they will always contain a light only placed their by Christ. And Christ seems to work a lot with opposites; oftentimes the trials that scare us the most are preparing us for His hand that is giving us the best. He makes us wait for the thing we need now. He gives for what was lost. He allows our misunderstanding of his character so we will come to understand His character. He stays silent while we question because He himself is the answer.
My father who makes me feel guilty for being sick, my friends who told me they don’t have time to encourage me, my passed down perfectionism that makes me feel like a failure more than anything else….our losses soon look like empty areas to fill Jesus with. More and more Jesus.
For each fear I’ve started out with, well He’s been purifying me until He sees Himself in my reflection…My flesh may fail but my heart is held by Him, I’m c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y. understood and accepted by Him, His consistency and faithfulness remain amid any change, and my worth was and always is set in place only by Him. Little bits of grace (favor, goodwill, kindness, blessing) sprouting as each gift for each loss.
The desperate prayers and begging hearts mark this time very well. But I can’t say that all my prayers go unanswered, lost in an abyss of wishes and needs, because for years I prayed for a man who was a fraction of the one Ethan is. Now we’re praying for a great revealing of His glory through our trials.
God is clearly in the waiting.
Don’t miss His message. Don’t ignore the hard path because it could be God answering your once spoken prayers for higher, sweeter grounds.
Maybe your rain storm of hardship will one day look at lot like a shower of grace.