After a few slow days and many thoughts, I seem to find some solace this morning.
These times, times when I can’t busy myself as much as normal, seem to always lead me back down the long road of memory to where my journey began.
No life is easy given this fallen, complicated world we live in, and each one has its own particulars that make no two exactly alike so that each of us, in a sense, carry a story all our own.
As a child, very early, I saw much hurt I could not understand, and I saw the cost of hurts bore alone. This against the backdrop of religious teaching that testified to the good and the evil that exists in the world opened my mind to consider what is at work in the world but hidden from the eye. It was a lot to grapple with and grapple I did. I still do.
I look at a world in chaos 45 years into my journey where satanic statues are being unveiled in my homeland and that which breaks with natural law and good sense is being promoted. I watch those held in highest esteem in our society debating the ethics of selling body parts of precious babies being torn from mothers’ wombs and I realize there was much to that original teaching in the church houses of my youth.
From worldwide to those closest to me, there is division. My heart aches…
It’s all very big and heavy, these world and personal woes, yet in my quiet, in this sanctuary called home, I pull my Bible to my lap and find wisdom, courage, strength, reminders of my small role in this big story centuries long and I am helped.
Since very young, I’ve had health issues. Stress has always manifest in physical illness for me, from vomiting regularly as a child to passing out cold periodically with fatigue for days following, migraines, and tummy troubles, on and on the list goes. The symptoms are real and sometimes very debilitating, always aggravating and disruptive to the very busy life I love to live, I’ve come to accept this as simply a part of my life. For so many years, I’ve battled shame. Shame over my weaknesses; shame over my failures; shame over foolish choices, until I’m just plain old tired of shame.
I see God’s gracious and merciful Hand cupped around my days from beginning til now, always hovering close whispering love to me as tears roll down my wet cheeks. He loves us all…He loves as I love a tired child nestled to my chest limp from fussing and struggling and questioning. He knows the whys of it all and loves completely.
He reminds me that each life holds a story with shame of its own; failures and poor choices and foolishness as sorrow-inducing as my own. My heart says, “I’m alone.” His promise says, “I am with you.”
He also reminds me that His Word contains proof that every man apart from Christ has borne the failures, the weakness, the thorn of the flesh, equalizing us all with neediness. Some cover better than others, present as strong, but strength unmovable belongs only to God, not ourselves.
By today, I’m counting the blessings of this slow time that I did not choose. My body is stronger this morning and my mind is clearer. I came to these words yesterday, “they helped every one his neighbor; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.” (Isaiah 41:6) Of this one thing I am sure, that I am a much kinder soul, a much better helper because of my own journey through difficulty. I can hold any hand and know I am no better than they. I can genuinely care for their sorrow, regardless of the cause. I can pray for the guilty prisoner with as much sincerity as I can pray for the wounded they left behind, because I know apart from Christ there is no one perfect. Oh this broken world…how I ache for those who hurt, no matter the cause.
Daily I find myself saying, “everyone matters.” Indeed, we all do, because we were created by purposeful Hands by One worthy of all we can give. May we live to encourage one another to love with abandon and to live intentionally so that no day is wasted, even the slow days. They may, in time, prove to be most productive.