Pounding surf erodes rock and shore, dancing back and forth with unrestrained resolve to aggravate and reshape a coastline. Platitudes and promises have no power to rescue abused sand or shell. From cradle to grave most earthly creatures, great and small, are prone to suffer the same kind of grinding assault. Human beings are not excluded.
We are bound to face the aching sting of crises and setbacks, either from bad choices or from that proverbial liquid that falls on the just and the unjust. A fortress built with shallow adages only offers a temporary haven for the world-weary wounded.
Reaching out with condolence, empathy, sympathy, and encouragement is not a bad thing, for we are charged to assist each other on the sometimes rocky trip through life. My point is, from too many years of observation and first-hand experience, there are ever-ready words which may offer a veneer of comfort and protection from our threatened crumbling, but they have been known to arrive with no mortar to hold them together. Leaning on the expected phrases will give no real support.
“Now, dear…things will look up. It may rain today, but the sun will shine again tomorrow. Just have FAITH.”
It isn’t difficult to learn to speak fluent Christianese. With an abundance of greeting cards, and encouragement books there is a plethora of wisdom balm whose intention is to ease someone’s pain. Many times, the offerings are not love based.
“This tragic shooting/flood/tornado happened for a reason. You’ll see.”
My restless search to know how suffering was only for the night and that joy would come in the morning, left me asking God to show me how that door closes, window opens thing works. Hope-Faith-Hope-Faith flew around my head and heart daring me to not believe, yet leaving me puzzled as to how they applied in every situation.
“God will make a way when there seems to be no way.”
Well, of course, He will, but what does that mean in real time?
Empty clichés can be like attacking a forest fire with a garden hose. The intention to help may be pure, but the outcome is not changed by the limp attempt. There has to be more.
I wrestled with this very premise, staying awake an entire night. When dawn knocked at my window with its never-ending devotion to morning, I saw the light. I really saw the LIGHT.
By backing way up to the definition of life, I finally got it firmly implanted in my brain that once we are created, we never die. Our bodies wear out and we may even get shriveled and prune-faced. That amazing mass of protoplasm that carries our spirits and souls from place to place finally returns to its dusty beginnings, but we go on forever.
Therein was the secret…the answer to my question. Since L-I-F-E never ends, there’s still time after we are transferred out of here to reap and be blessed.
Praying, holy-living Christians who wonder if anybody besides old Job would understand about getting blindsided and kicked in the solar plexus at disgustingly frequent intervals can count on seeing their tears woven like threads of silver and gold into a well done, good and faithful servant tapestry waiting in that mansion our Lord promised.
A beloved hymn says, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and righteousness.” Hallelujah!
A dear friend and mature woman of God used to tell me how much she had been praying, but she was still confused about how to proceed in her desperate suffering. She often said there was only one thing she knew absolutely for sure: Jesus crucified. Period.
That’s all she had. That’s all she needed. The agonizing time she spent wondering if the Lord had abandoned her, and her faithfulness to stand on His WORD, regardless of what she felt or saw, was bread cast on the waters that did not return void. In three weeks, she is marrying a precious man who loves her beyond measure and is the perfect antidote for sad memories. They are profoundly happy.
We can endure the dark intervals of physical, emotional, and even spiritual anguish when we acknowledge there’s plenty of time to be blessed-- since we’ve only just begun.
Storms may rage for the night, a forecast we can expect, but at some point, while we stand safely under the umbrella of Scripture’s assurance, the light of joy will knock on our windows in the morning. That’s a promise.
Romans 9:18 (NLT)
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
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