Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed by this sensation of carrying a weight on my shoulders. I’ve had a weary heart. I’ve been walking around with heavy, labored breathing. As though getting through every day is a struggle.
I’m aware that this darkness scares some people, but not me.
Because I feel things very deeply, I am affected by the burden of pain a little more than most. I am blessed to be aware of so much love, beauty and delight in my surroundings but this comes with the struggle of feeling equal measures of despair at the suffering I see.
I’ve got my hands in fists on each side. In my right hand I hold the darkness, in the left I hold the light. And each day I battle to keep this balance. Exploring the light without being lost in the darkness.
How can I hold all this suffering within? How can I live in this world which is so broken? How can I cope with the pain I will inevitably suffer?
I’m thankful that God is gracious in his approach to us. That we are free to wrestle with these fears and doubts. That we are allowed to feel angry and sad and come at Him with a billion questions.
What matters most I’ve found is that in the search for truth, it always comes back to Jesus. We’ll always end up at the foot of the cross staring into the face of the one whose love protects all things, forgives all things and perseveres through all things.
I’ve been searching for answers.
I’ve been angry with God.
I’ve questioned my faith and coddled my doubts.
What I found wasn’t a clear answer or divine revelation but rather a gentle whisper, a heart nudging, a deeper appreciation for the beautiful, mysterious way that God works.
I had to look outside of myself. I had to move beyond the cynicism clouding my vision. And in nature I found an answer which satisfied my crumpled heart.
Have you ever considered the life cycle of a humble flower. Seeds drop into soil, dig down and find their place. Awakened, they send up shoots, gather light and fight their way through the earth. Buds turn to blossoms which are admired by all and then they droop, wilt and fall back down to the ground.
Which is where we tend to believe the story ends.
But as the flower, leaves and stem decay, the nutrients return back to the soil and provide sustenance for the next flower to grow.
The death and decay feeds the new life.
It seems that nature always moves towards harmony, peace, rest. Shalom.
And we see that in our own bodies too.
On New Years Eve I hosted a party at my house and during the evening I retreated to my bedroom to grab something and in my haste to get back to the fun, I accidentally slammed into a door and cut the back of my hand.
Over the past few months I’ve watched with fascination as the wound has slowly healed itself.
The cut was gradually coloured in with flesh and blood and the scar has eventually blended into my skin.
Our body always moves towards balance. Our homeostasis is healing.
Right now, what I see all around me is suffering. Around every corner I am faced with brokenness. Our world is a mess and if we dwell on that for too long it’s easy to fall into depression.
Families are breaking down and leaving shattered pieces. Countries are being torn apart and are spilling their inhabitants in all directions. Diseases are choking out the life from our very veins.
If ever there were a time for a mighty flood of destruction, I would say this is it.
What good can possibly come from a wretched place like this?
I feel that darkness beginning to close in.
But then there is a stirring in my heart which is calling me to say, hope is here.
God is making all things new. He is trading beauty for ashes. He is binding up wounds, drying up tears and pushing up flowers from the dry, barren ground.
His intention has always been redemption. His promise has always been restoration.
All creation beats to this rhythm. It’s humming in the bees and rustling through the trees.
Some of you may be in a situation that feels hopeless, but know that new life is just around the corner. The seeds are dormant and still but they are there underground.
I have this hope that none of the pain or loss is wasted. The death and decay filter down and provide the foundation for new life to flourish.
Our bitter losses and tragedies are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.
I take comfort in knowing that my God is BIG.
My hands are easily weighed down because this burden is too great for me to bear. My humanness is insufficient for such a task, but God can hold it all. He can hold both darkness and light without strain. He can be all consuming love and righteous judgement. He can dance with us in our joy and weep with us in our sadness.
Over everything, He is our redemption.
In all seasons, He is our hope.
In the longing, searching and seeking for truth…He is our answer.
“I waited and waited and waited for God.
At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.”
-Psalm 40 : 3-5 (MSG)