Hope in the midst of pain…

Hearts all over the country are hurting. Specifically hearts out east, as the rest of the country sympathizes.
It’s unthinkable. There is no easy answer.

The same day those babies and teachers were killed, my boys were first on the scene of a fatal accident in which another baby girl met Jesus along with her mom. Leaving behind an injured twin sister, an older sister and a broken-hearted daddy.

My guys saw things that forever changed them and broke their hearts.
They were there to bring the Spirit of God into a place of chaos and pain.
Our hearts are so very heavy.

Our human minds try to reason it all out. We try to blame and come up with plans to prevent future pain. We all try to stand together against the evil that causes such sorrow.

No words, no laws, no president, no unified country can change this world we live in. It’s been fallen and broken for much longer than we can imagine. Humans broke God’s heart almost at the start, and it continues.

We, at least, can opt out of viewing other folks’ pain. His heart surely continues to break as He holds each parent’s hand all the way through–if they let Him.

What kind of God would allow this? Surely, that’s what folks will ask.
This is not His doing. There is evil at play. This world is full of darkness and suffering.
There is only One Light.

As a little girl, I sang a song that said, “He never said there’d only be sunshine. He never said there’d be no rain. He only promised a heart full of singing, at the very thing that once brought pain.”

As long as we live here, there’s going to be pain. To expect less sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Do we expect that if there really is a God we’d live in utopia? Who deserves the kind of pain we see around us or maybe feel? In our human minds, no one does.

But if we didn’t hurt or cry out in pain, we’d never know the need for the Giver of Peace! If we didn’t know the absence of joy, we never give credit to the Joy-Giver!

Into the darkness, a Savior was born. It was in the dark of night, when He was most needed.
Hope is here. In the darkest night, Hope was born.

You can argue theology with me all day and I might lose, but what you can never take from me is that in my darkest midnight, I was never alone. No one can ever take from me the memory I have of peace that washed over me like a warm, sweet blanket in a moment of sheer panic.  No one can ever convince me that the times when the presence of God was more real to me than any human has ever been did not happen.
And there is NOTHING in this world that means more to me than that. I cannot imagine a day without the peace I have. I could not exist without the hope I found. In the midst of pain, I can see beyond this moment to a plan bigger than mine.

I will sing of it forever.

Dear Jesus,

It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.

These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.

The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.

Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.

Follow us

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.

This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.


Your Children
(Max Lucado)


Out of control…?

It’s funny how quickly a day can spiral out of control. Or a truck when the tire blows.
I cannot even believe I’m writing this because it was not even a year and a half ago when I wrote this post chronicling another accident my son had.

Today, my son and Babe the big, blue truck had their last ride together. And another huge Ford (and an even huger God) saved his life.

Strange things happen in heads when a, “Wow. This day could have wrecked my life!” moment hits you between the eyes. Everything looks a little different. Every word you said earlier in the day, every weird “coincidence” looks a little less coincidence-y, every hug gets a little tighter.

On his way home from work, his right rear tire blew spinning his truck on the expressway. Facing the wrong direction, he saw a truck and camper and in order to miss hitting it he spun the wheel which sent him careening into the air and then he landed upside down crunching the roof to his head and tipped over one more time.
The truck and camper stopped, and two men on their way to hunting camp ran over to check on him.
This, my husband heard while on the phone with his son.
The second man peered in through the windshield and said, “Kirksey!” Yup. It was a friend. And volunteer fireman at that. They both were. They had called for help, and got Justin out and safely away from the vehicle and waited until his dad showed up.

Mom heard the phone call and fought vomit for 25 or so agonizing minutes waiting to hear her son’s voice.

He has two scratches. And he’s sore. And he is praising God. Because even though his truck, which was his prized possession is gone, and he’s unsure of how God will provide the next one, he is alive. My son laughed and hugged me while I sobbed and said, “Momma, I’m fine. I’m alive! The enemy thought he could win, but God’s got me.”

And the rest of the night we all just keep looking at him.

I don’t ask God, “Why?”
I never have. I guess no matter what has ever happened to me no matter how dark the day or devastating the circumstances, I’ve always known He is in control. I have wished for things to be different. I have begged that He would choose a different way, but because I know He is God I guess deep down I decide to let Him be.

It was just this morning that Christian and I had this conversation. We said that there were definitely a few things God could allow in our lives that could raise that “why” question. But, so far, we hold His hand and trust His plan. It’s bigger than we can see.
I don’t mean to sound all Pollyanna, and I guess if my life was perfect one could laugh at my naïveté.
But, like we discussed this morning, how does one KNOW the love of God? Like know it in your core.
If you wanted to know, but didn’t know, how do you think He could prove it to you?

Blessings? Money? A perfect life?
Because I found His love when my heart was broken. It was always there, but it wasn’t the great moments in my life that drew me. It was the deep, dark pain-filled ones.
That’s where He waited for me.
And once I knew Him more, I recognized Him in the great moments. Now, I see His love everywhere.
Even in a car accident.

He loves my son. He is doing huge things in him. Huge!! And my son will continue to be used in HUGE ways that most people don’t see to represent love. And when a really bad thing happens, he sees the love in spite of it and running through it.

Crap happens. It does. Folks deserve better than this world full of crap happening. But like so many arteries running from the heart outward runs LOVE so huge it makes the crap irrelevant. Or at least forgettable.

Or, it makes love the part worth focusing on.