It’s cold out there. Not so much the weather, (though here in the northern United States it has been brisk lately) – no, out there. In the real world.
In this place we call home. In this place we travel through to our final destination. This place that gives us glimpses of incredible light all mixed up…
In the suffering.
In the silence.
This has been a week of manys, after months of nones. Many deaths, many life threatening illnesses, many end of life concerns, many disappointments. Babies have died, children are struggling for life, women are having past traumas rise up to haunt them, men are living the fears of not enough for their families – and disasters… Lots of natural and man-made disasters. Another earthquake just today.
Mothers are tired. Fathers are weary. Children are scared.
I listen to them. They tell me. I hear it. The voice of pain.
And I weep. And wish for a time of nones. No pain, no suffering. Not for me but for them.
It’s megaphone time waiting for God to shout into the pain and obliterate it. He spoke the world into being …
It is not always God’s plan to heal. If it was, it would happen. Simple.
Some would say he’s not involved in the day by day. Others say He wills who lives or dies. To others it is about faith. Some say it’s always Satan. Others like me say it’s a mystery – a result of the fall, of brokenness, of living in the now-but-not-yet as we wait for the redemption of our bodies. It’s none of the above and an all of the above.
We are hushed listening for the groaning creation to return as shouts of joy.
Our faith is not greater than God’s grace and mercy. Our will does not trumps His. That would be a really small God. He is not some petty human measuring our faith on a scale to see if we have enough weight to pay the bill. Or if our theology is lacking. Or maybe our frailty causes us to fear.
God is. He says a mustard seed is all we need to see the mountains move.
It’s a mystery – a dichotomy of universal proportions that theologians have struggled with for centuries – millenniums really, only we didn’t call them such back in the days of Job. Job thought he had it right until he realized he had it wrong.
Job met God in the moments that he least expected to know Him.
Job met Him when life was simply too hard. He met him in the reality of where we are and where we long to be.
There in the in-between-times of what is and what will be. There He is. Job met him in the cold.
In the silence.
Spring always, eventually, shows up. Flowers shoot up from fertile ground that rested after the darkness of soon? Dormant and cold through long winters, they are now restless and weary with when?
New growth always comes.
It is the kind of growth that survives the harsh cold of winter and the blazes of forest fires.
It is strong.
It knows how to buckle down during the tough times and wait for the raging flames to pass by. It knows that the snow will melt and the sun will indeed shine again. It knows.
We know Who we believe in and we know what lies beneath the barren and the burnt. The soil is fertile. Even when we can’t see below the hard packed snow of cold isolation, we know.
God always answers our prayers. He always brings new life from our mustard seeds. Maybe not in ways we can predict, or even in ways we prefer – but always in ways that are filled with His goodness.
When life seems just too hard – there is God. He is always under our feet. His grace is lifting us up and His love will guide us into new growth. It may not feel it but it is.
Sometimes He seems veiled by all the darkness that this world throws at us. We just can’t recognize the face before us. We see it, we squint our eyes, we cock our hears, we may even feel it, but it’s just out of focus. It’s like the scene in the movie Hook where Robin Williams plays an adult Peter Pan. He has gone to rescue his kids, but the older out of shape Peter Panning just can’t believe in himself, nor can others believe in him. Until one little boy takes the time to look close – really close – and recognize Peter in the face of the one who is before him.
Sometimes we just don’t recognize Him. We don’t hear His whisper through the voices, we don’t see His face through the sea of disappointments and doubts.
I sit in the Presence of the One who loves me and I remember how much He loves them too. The one whose baby just died. The one whose child is fighting for breath. The one who struggles with nightmares of what if. They are my sisters on the journey through the now-but-not-yet of this world and we follow the One.
We follow the One who leads us gently, cradling us in Arms of Mercy. We feel His Breath blowing gently, warming our souls. We touch His Face and feel the contours of His Love.
There You are, God.
And like Job, we Know.