When I was a kid, I used to love collecting shiny things. I’d hold them against the light to see if they sparkled but in vain. Have you ever held a real diamond against the light though? Every facet reflects a different but beautiful colour depending on the angle at which you turn it. And so it is with our Lord. With every experience that we face in life, we discover and appreciate a whole new side of the Saviour we’ve never seen before.
I lost my dad a month ago. It had only been about six months since he’d been diagnosed with cancer but the news had barely sunk in before he was gone. I have lost many special people in my life. Favourite uncles, teachers… but nothing quite hit me as when God decided to stir my own nest. For the first one week, I was in denial. It felt like a bad dream and I kept telling myself that I would wake up and things would be just as they used to be. But as the days passed, the reality of it all hit me. I longed to be able to pick up the phone and hear his voice again. To see him look up and give me his characteristic smile when I walk into his room. To be able to touch his soft, cushiony hands that never aged and always felt like you were holding clouds. Now, suddenly, there was nobody I could call Daddy anymore. And how my heart ached. Random memories of things said and done kept coming back and, as much as I know he’s gone to a better place, I wish he had stayed just a bit longer. It felt too much to bear.
As I wondered how I was going to get all the broken pieces of my heart together again, I knew deep inside that the only Person who could fix and heal it was the One who had created it in the first place. God fashioned our hearts with His own hands and knows every thought, every word, even before we say it (Psalm 139:4). How much more when we ache and grieve!
And He is no stranger to grief for Christ experienced cosmic grief on the cross when He cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? (My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?)” The pain of separation was far more than any of the physical sufferings He’d had to undergo. So, yes, He knows how we feel. He is not a narcissistic God who does as He pleases without considering us but takes time to acknowledge our jumble of emotions.
Many times, we are familiar with the God who heals a viral fever or helps us through our daily chores or gives us a promotion at work. But that is just a mere glimpse of who He really is. He is also the Saviour who wept unashamedly at the tomb of His friend Lazarus, who binds our wounds and carries us when we are exhausted. To think that the God who holds the whole world in His hands is tender enough to collect all our tears in a bottle and record each one in a book (Psalm 56:8). That is how much He cares for and values each of His little children.
The God who holds the whole world in His hands is tender enough to collect all our tears in a bottle and record each one in a book
There is a beautiful promise in Matthew 5:4 — “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” What a paradox! How can you be blessed as you go through times of deepest sorrow? The Bible is full of great exchanges and this promise is no exception. “To grant to those who mourn in Zion — to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).
As unbelievable as it may sound, God will bring forth beauty from the ashes and joy will follow the mourning. We can never experience the power of His healing until we are broken. We can never understand how dear His fellowship is until we are lonely. We can never know the might of His strength until we are weary and empty. You can never savour the sweetness of His comfort until we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He takes away, so that He can give us all of Himself, which is more than enough for everything.
God takes away, so that He can give us all of Himself, which is more than enough for our every need
Amidst the ashes, I have enjoyed the riches of His goodness and love in proportions much more than I have known till now and it is a precious gift that no one can take from me. His every promise has been my anchor and steadied my restless heart. As a mother eagle protects its fragile eggs, so the Lord enveloped me and gave me refuge under His strong wings (Psalm 91:4).
A common question that people ask when they go through trials is, “Where is God when it hurts?” He is right beside you, holding your hand, feeling your pain, and He is right there inside you, healing your heart. It is during times of deepest pain that the Lord is closest (Psalm 34:18).
Whatever you may be going through today, my dear friend, as overwhelming as it may feel, this too shall pass. His grace will carry you through. And there will come a day when you will truly be able to say, “Because your steadfast love is better than [anything else in] life, my lips will praise you.” (Psalm 63:3). And you will know that you are blessed indeed.
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalm 27:14
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