Yesterday my heart was heavy and hurting (when I wrote "The Curse"). Today I feel a twinge of hope as I think about the question I cried out. "Who can heal me now?"
I know the answer to that is Jesus Christ. Our lives as followers of Him were never promised to be perfect. In fact, we were warned repeatedly in Scripture that because of our faith in Him, we would face many trials.
A favorite song of mine recently has been "Held" which is sung by Natalie Grant. I burned it onto a disc to give to a friend who is enduring some intense pain in her life (I was allowed a limited number of burns for the song I purchased online). Who knew I would also need this same song to get me through some of these horrific days. (Ha! God did!) One of the verses goes like this:
Who told us we’d be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We’re asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
Isn't that what we want to know? Isn't that what we want to scream out when the pain of this life bears down on us like an avalanche? This habit of ours (as posers) to put on a happy face and hide our true emotions tends to add to the thinking that the Christian life is all about happiness and good times. When the good times fade and the pain comes, will our faith hold steady in spite of the grief?
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.
Even though my trials may not be as numerous as some nor as large as others seems to have...the grief is still intense. The faith-shaking realities that happen to us in this life happen to all sooner or later. No one is exempt. How we deal with those griefs is what makes or breaks us. This life is a refining fire. We are told we will be refined like precious metals.
"I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.
They will call on my name and I will answer them:
I will say, 'They are my people,'
and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.'"
Sometimes this fire brings pain. We feel a bit singed on the edges and wonder if we have been forgotten by our God. However, He is ever-faithful and He has not forgotten. He has not abandoned us. We want to hate...we think the hatred will remove the pain of the deep wounds.
This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred NUMB our sorrow.
The wise hand opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.
But God is wiser. He knows that life is not found in hatred. He knows that our pain will not be relieved if we give in to the anger and revenge. He is refining us and what we will be left with will be real. What He offers us is hope...hope for tomorrow and eternity.
Real faith is not pretending that life is a carnival, full of fun and good times, but realizing that the pain will come. The pain will sometimes be so intense we can barely breathe. But if we cling to His promises and allow Him to work in our lives, we will be made into something precious, which has been His goal all along. He is the Creator God. The one who takes great joy in beautiful things. He is not finished with His creation. He has not abandoned us to the fires of torment. He is keeping His promise to bring good out of the evil that this fallen world inflicts upon us.
"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."
Satan sought to destroy God's beloved creation at the very beginning. He still roams the earth seeking those He can destroy. Why should we be surprised when we are targeted by his flaming arrows of wrath? He still seeks to destroy those loved by God. But we do not serve a God who sleeps. He is alive and watching and has a purpose for our lives. He will sustain us. I believe this with all my heart.
I know God will give me the strength to face this trial and the others that will inevitably follow. I know that He is holding me when my world seems to be falling apart all around. I know that He hears when my heart cries out, "Oh Lord come quickly...we are so weary!" My heart has hope that these pains are temporary. There will come a day when there will be no more pain...no more sorrow...no more tears. That day is not today...but it is coming.
This is what it means to be HELD.