I got a phone call last night. The pain was evident though I could barely decipher what was being said through the crying.
I received an email yesterday, the author dubbed it her "message" or sermon. My heart ached with her as I sensed her grief.
I read a blog today, someone I don't even know, and I can honestly tell you it brought me to tears. Uncontrollable tears at the thought of what this family is facing today.
Pain, hurt, heartache, disappointment - it's all around. Consider what Oswald says of the life of Paul: "The one passion of Paul's life was to proclaim the gospel of God. He welcomed heartbreak, disillusionment, and tribulation for only one reason - these things kept him unmovable in his devotion to the gospel of God."
Would Iwelcome heartache? Could I embrace pain? Dare I greet disappointment?
One of my favorite passages are the Lord's words in Isaiah 43:1b-3:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israle, your Savior."
Are the waves crashing around you? Are the flames engulfing you? Are the waters about to consume you? Don't fear. You are His. He's called you by name. He won't let you go under. He won't let you be burned.
Verse 4 says you are precious and honored in His sight and because He loves you, He will give people for your life. He's already given His son to redeem you for eternity. And now He promises to not let your life be taken by the hands of someone else. There is someone who needs to know this.
No, He may not have provided the ram to replace your Isaac on the altar. No, He may not have prevented the heartache inflicted at the hands of someone else. No, He may not even have given healing to the innocent life who inevitably will die. But He is not going to let this trial be the death of you.
Did you hear me?! I know how hard this is to hear and understand. It's the difference between your heart and mind feeling and knowing things that seem to be inconflict with each other.
If you find yourself among the flames, overtaken by the waves, engulfed by the waters, in the midst of the trial, I am going to be so bold to say - this might be exactly where He needs you to be. At this point, all you can do is cling to Him, seek His redemption, and allow Him to move. Stay put. You're exactly where you should be. And He is right there with you.