Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hold High

It’s hard to think about anything other than the children whom Jesus holds in His arms.

Other than pray and think about the kids, everything else I do right now feels so inadequate. Writing, especially. When I am cried out, I feel pretty numb this way, and don’t know what there is to offer.

And I don’t know how to ever bring light to the unimaginable pain of those who have lost or endured so much, and who’ve held witness to the suffering of those who deserve no such thing. Other than to cry with and for the shattered, nothing else much makes sense. It feels torturous that when we’ve cried it all out, there it all is again.

So I don’t know about you, but I am praying and thinking about them and weeping and mourning and whispering why. Like I said, I don’t think I have much else to offer.

When I’m done weeping, I breathe in and out and remember, and then weep again. Sitting quietly here in our home, we pray and we hold each other very, very close. Every now and then we go get busy with something less important for the simple sake of distraction. It seems unfair that we can do this.

And then once in a while, we’ll remember all over again and then cry again and then somewhere in the middle of all of this… this process of over-and-over… we realize that our prayers and that our hearts and our minds are mercifully finding their way back to one thing that we in our family know.

I want to share with you the one thing. But first, I need to tell you a story.

A friend once talked about a place in the Bible where a man lost it all. He lost his life and his children and family and possessions… dignity… and even his health. His wife told him to curse God and die.

His soul is broken. His life is gone. His sense of what is correct and right in the world is rocked and blurry. It seems in the ebb and flow of heart and mind (much like where you and I can go)… nothing makes sense any more.

He hits the very bottom, and in one last fit of grief, mutters to people nearby, “Pity me, pity me, oh you my friends.”

And then he says this thing.

He says, “Oh that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll.”

Right away though, it’s like he almost pauses to rethink it… he wants it to be written on something more solid than a scroll and with ink.

He goes on and says, “… that they were inscribed with an iron tool in lead…”

But even this does not seem permanent enough. He wants for more.

He says, “… that they were engraved in rock forever.” (Emphasis mine)

This is what he wants to write:

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”

He knows that he needs it written someplace strong. Some place long – lasting; permanent. Some place that these words will stand on their own and provide the one thing when it all seems to fall apart and he cannot remember it on his own.

Sometimes when we have nothing left to offer but more weeping, we need this one thing.

Let me share ours with you.

At the end of the Bible… which I believe is less an end and more a beginning… there is this book where John shares these things he’s seen.

He shares about this wild series of visions of what is already, and what is to come. It’s filled with beautiful and terrifying stories that speak of the deep things of souls, and realms we don’t really even have much of a glimpse of yet. He speaks of how all of the dissonance and pain will come to a resolve that we don’t have the hearts or minds to grasp. And he says this one thing.

He says he saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away.

But this isn’t exactly it yet.

He then says he saw a new city descending from Heaven, beautiful like the most amazing bride you’ve ever seen on her wedding day. But this isn’t the one thing either.

He goes on to say he heard a loud voice booming… saying that God will be there with men, and that they will be His people, and He will be their God. And while I believe and know and love this… I think there is even more to it… something special in what He does once He’s with us. And it’s our one thing.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

A pastor once suggested, and I too believe that Jesus will someday at the end and beginning of all things, look toward us in some crazy and holy supernatural mix of love, strength, joy and “Finally!” and utter two words:

“No more.”

No more pain. Enough of the sorrow. No more of the suffering and tears and shattering and fear. No more of the wounds, broken hearts, fragility and lives His children find thrust on them and each other.

No longer will we thirst or hunger in physical or spiritual ways, and we won’t languish and throw ourselves against rocks and walls of our own brokenness while looking for anything to fill us.

And no one will ever have to be afraid for what the innocent have seen or endured.

Jesus has a message for you and I from what He’s already done, what He is doing, and what He will do. He says, “Behold, I make all things new.”

This is our one thing. He will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

For some, this is no longer their someday. This is their every day. Open fields of joy and imagination and freedom and artistry from the Author of all things… they really do await.

So I will long for this day and I push towards this day with everything in me. I will pray that we and our children will be able to wield the big and small things of God so that His Kingdom would come in as many ways that it can through us while we wait on the timeline of His fullness of His story.

So there is something to offer.

May we take and cherish and hold and embrace and hold high the one thing.

Written on a rock, engraved in stone, etched deeply into our hearts and minds… so that even when we’re shaken, we can look to the left or to the right or up on the shelf above our desk and see it… and we will be able to remember and pass it on:

I know my Redeemer lives.
Behold, He makes all things new.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.

“Let the little children come to Me, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Oh, amen dear Jesus.

Photo used with permission:

Thanks, David Johnson, for slicing Job 19 so well. 

Thanks Max Lucado, for helping us all see so much hope in what God is doing. 

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