With much love for L and S
Where are You, O God? Where are You for our friends? I plant my elbows on the navy-checked tablecloth. I stare at the corncob salt-and-peppers from the thrift shop–mere specks of dust in the universe, but they usually make me smile. Not today. My heart is heavy.
Outside, brilliant oranges and yellows proclaim the time of rest for trees. Winter approaches—the first snows dust the tops of the nearby foothills. The once-dry creek roars again. My mind roars, too. But I want to hope.The evidence of You is all around.
Are You wrapped around our friends today? Are You their refuge and strength? Are You holding them up?
Why are these friends continuously pummeled by storms with little rest—cancer, deaths of loved ones, dementia in both fathers, and the latest blow–arrest of a son for whom they’ve prayed, sacrificed, counseled, and laid down their lives in every arena?
Satan pounds them without abatement. The “Adam” bombs of mortality threaten to blast them to dust and grind them to spit.
We’re not supposed to ask why. But Moses did. David did. May I ask for them, Lord? May I beg a respite for them from the storms? How much more? Will You hide them in the shelter of Your wings?
Can they find refuge in sleep? They bury their faces in wet pillows. A God who makes autumn and constellations and babies to grow inside us–the conclusion will be perfect, yes, but it looks a mess now. Where is the ray of hope?
The sister of Lazarus said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21 NASB) Jesus asked Martha if she believed He could raise the dead. She did, she said, yes, certainly, sometime in the future. But Jesus raised Lazarus that very day.
We need a raising, Lord.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)
When Job lost his animals, servants, buildings, children, and health, he asked why. You answered him with Your beauty and majesty, Your authority over the store houses of snow and every created thing. Job fell on his face and retracted his questions as piffle.
We want to retract our questions but, right now, none of what’s happening feels like piffle.It feels like our hearts can’t continue beating against the flood–that they’re ripped out, strewn on the rocks, and bleeding underfoot.
But Your heart is breaking too, isn’t it, Lord? When we weep and cry out to You, and rail against the evil in the world that devastates us and kills the ones we love, You know how we feel, don’t You? You know because You were here once.
After You listened to Martha and Mary, You stood outside Lazarus’ tomb and wept.
That’s our ray of hope.
You wept over our reality. You accepted the whole pain of it on the Cross. You said to Your disciples–all the ones then and all the ones now–“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Help us take courage today, Lord. Help us remember You standing outside that tomb looking at the wages of sin and weeping for us. Give our friends the courage of hope in You and Your finished work. Give us faith in things not seen.
We are creatures of dust. You’ve put it in our hearts to love and sacrifice for other creatures of dust, to find pleasure and beauty even in inanimate things that will all pass away. Therefore, hide us in the shelter of Your wings, that we would find hope in You, despite what we see.
Please, Lord–only You can give life.