All I Once Held Dear3:23 PM
Once again I find myself being nudged into writing another blog. I smile inwardly realizing that the things I write here reflect a most imperfect person, a heart reaching for the sunlight while living amongst the shadows. Most things I read come from people who've reached the other side of a heartache, or a momentous change in their lives. Today I write to you, not from an outpouring of wisdom but rather from a spirit of brokenness. In my unselfish, non-egotistical moments, I can imagine you out there being broken too. Perhaps all you need to hear is the words of another wearied traveler saying that she doesn't know how to go on, even though she is. As Blaise Pascal has said, "The heart has reasons that reason cannot know."
Today I'm writing to you brokenhearted myself. Many of you know the reasons why. A series of deaths of people I deeply cared about, the loss or postponement of a deeply held dream, the pain of rejection, and the burden of the future. As I recently told a friend, I feel I am standing in the ashes of what once was my life. For the first time in a long time, I know the twinge of uncertainty and the searing pain of an ending; no, not one, rather many. But there's still a little bit of truth I'm hanging onto and that's the bit I want to share, the bit I want you to take away with you.
"Hope in God for I will yet praise Him, the hope of my countenance and my God." PSALM 43:5
You know what I get excited about? There's an end to the endings. Someday I'm going to walk into Jesus presence and never turn back. There may be a lot of road between here and there but there also may not. Two people I knew who died this year were both only 35. I've been awful hopeless lately, a real mess honestly. I had no idea the depths of self-centeredness that could be grasped until I lost almost everything I once held dear (Christian worship song enter here).
But today, for the first time in a long time, I looked up. And you know what I saw? I am surrounded by a lot of broken people! My mother, who hasn't stepped out of her wheelchair in almost 30 years; a woman who's known the horrors of a blistering divorce; a friend who lost her job; another who can't understand why he's alone.... It's heartbreaking!
And then God reminded me of someone else too, a man, 2,000 years ago, sweating blood in a garden far away from the Californian paradise in which I now sit. He's broken. Unlike most of us, He knows blow for blow what's about to happen to Him. He knows that He's going to lose all of His friends in an instant, all of his followers in a breath. He knows that He is going to endure insufferable pain at the hands of ignorant, heartless people who don't deserve one glance from His eye. He knows that He's going to endure humiliation and mocking and scoundrels and hate and all of those things that He despises the most in this wretched world of His. And maybe in that moment He catches a memory from before the age of men, when a little earth was formed and cast into orbit, a mere dot in an endless universe among universes. Or perhaps he remembers man, catching his first breath, and His Father's surge of joy at this, His creation!
With that He gets up, He arises from his Penuel, and He makes His long walk through a dark garden and into the destiny of you and me. I find myself wretched once again even while writing this because He CHOSE to take on my pain. He knew what He was doing.
"Surely He has borne our sufferings and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken, and struck down by God, and afflicted." ISA 53:4
He didn't forget me and He hasn't forgotten you. He didn't leave me to my own purposes, allowing me to make a hell on earth for myself with a much more torrid one awaiting me in the hereafter. He chose to take my pain upon Himself because He cared that much. I don't understand that kind of love. I hardly know it, but I'd like to. So, wherever you are right now whether in China, North Korea, or Guam, I pray that the man in the garden would enter your heart and give peace to your troubled mind, just as He has to mine. God be with you.
P.S. If you need a little cheering up today check out this picture of "Jesus in the Garden" -Daren Criswell Photocraphy
First picture of "Gethsemane" by Rado Javar