Her eyes fell to the floor, “I’m…sorry,” she whispered. Tears were falling now, down her lovely face, and leaving marks on her blouse. I didn’t really know what to say at that moment. I wanted to say, “It’s ok,” but it wasn’t ok. She wasn’t ok. What she was going through wasn’t ok.
How do you hold a broken heart? You hold it up to Jesus…one beautiful piece at a time.
I didn’t have many answers for my hurting friend that day. My understanding and my knowledge of how the universe works, why there is suffering, why we go through the things we go through…I don’t really know. Or certainly can’t rightly express. My supply of words fall utterly short. Really short. I can’t pretend I get it and I can’t promise to explain it. But my understanding and my comfort don’t actually matter here in these privileged tender spaces.
So, I took a chance. Placing my hand upon her shoulder, her eyes flickered up to mine, wary, unsure. Handing her a Kleenex wasn’t the best I had to offer, but it was a start. She said again, “I’m so sorry.” This time, I leaned in and asked her why she was apologizing to me? Wiping the tears away again, she explained that she worried her suffering was making me uncomfortable.
She didn’t want to intimidate me with her raw emotion, her struggle, her real.
As her isolation and desperate need for a friend washed over me, I joined her in her tears. With shaky arms, I drew her into a tight hug and whispered, “I am not intimidated by your tears or your story…and neither is Jesus.”
How could I be intimidated? How could I shrink back when Jesus didn’t shrink from anyone. He crossed the street to touch the untouchable and He reached out to those who had been shut out.
I didn’t have answers or quick solutions to offer. I couldn’t navigate a safe route out of her current story, but I could offer her what I did have.
Slowly, I began to speak of what I did know.
He is who He says He is.
His promises never fail.
His mercies are new every morning.
He will never leave us or forsake us.
His kind of love is constant, unfailing, unfettered, and absolutely endures forever.
He is good – both in the now and in the not yet.
His love is unrelenting.
His faithfulness is everlasting.
His promises are unfailing.
His mercies are unceasing.
His kindness is astounding.
He is. He was. He will always be.
He is the first and the last.
He goes before you.
He stands behind you.
He wraps Himself around you.
In Him you are never alone, always loved, perfected in holiness, guarded in truth, shielded by His power, comforted by His Spirit, guided by His good plans and purposes.
In every season. In victory and triumph. In suffering and loss.
He may not save you from hardship or suffering, but He will not fail to save you through it.
That’s our God. That’s our Jesus. That’s our Savior, our Hope, our Joy, our Anchor.
That’s what I have to offer. Nothing on this earth can shake or change those certainties. Nothing.
Friends, this world and the days we must walk through can be hard…really hard. But let us not shrink back or isolate ourselves from those who are hurting around us.
The enemy would love nothing more than to convince us that we are indeed alone and that we must fend for ourselves. THIS is a lie.
Let us be brave enough to look one another in the eye and say, “I see you…Jesus sees you.” We may not be able to offer neat and tidy answers, but we can offer the One who is everything any of us could ever need.
The song I want to share with you today is called, “Extravagant,” from Steffany Gretsinger, Amanda Cook, and the Bethel Worship crew. Sometimes, when the issues and struggles of this world are bigger than life, we just need the reminder of whose love is bigger still. Can I get an amen?
With joy for the journey,