come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…
we are standing on the shore, my boy and i. watching his brother and dad out in the water….struggling, struggling, struggling. time has slowed and we fear help will not come in time.
we are staring death in the face and it is terrifying.
we are powerless.
some teenagers in their fishing boat arrive first. then the firemen, paramedics, rescue/dive team. they carry my youngest boy onto the stretcher and into the ambulance, then my husband. Their bodies so weakened by hypothermia, they are shaking shaking, my boy looses consciousness, then comes back talking gibberish, crying out in pain. my older boy and i, we watch, we speak strengthening words to them, we pray. we make decisions-will we ride in the ambulance with them or follow in the car? which hospital?
we are all well cared for, the doctors do their jobs. the boys all begin to recover, both the ones in the water and the one standing powerless on the shore.
after a few days, when everyone is back to school and work, i sit in the quiet….
men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. and the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. the more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured…
screwtape to wormwood -cs lewis
it is not strange these painful things that happen. i know, i know. the injury on this particular day was pointed, specific, cutting deep into a desire and felt legitimate claim.
and so i lament.
lament would provide a bridge back to the safe presence of God….only someone engaged in life can lament.
a sacred sorrow -michael card
gravity is a law of nature, a reality of life. it cannot be thwarted, controlled, denied.
i am lamenting many things, but the main thing is; the absence of security. like the presence of gravity exists, so does the absence of security. i have no power or control over the outcome of a planned day. i cannot lay claim to any expectation of smooth waters, joy-filled experiences, or long days with the ones i love. in an instant it all can be taken. all. of. it.
for the past 3 years i’ve been memorizing Romans chapter 8. it’s taking a long time.
i think i’m reciting to myself to help get thru these days following tragedy, where the rug has been pulled out from under me and i’ve discovered there is no floor. i think i’m behind because it’s taking so many years to memorize this one chapter. i think lots of things that are merely a shadow of the reality of a God that is near.
…hope that is seen is no hope at all. who hopes for what he already has? but if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
i weep and wail at these words. i confess that i no longer know how to pray. standing on that shore, i cried for help only, reasoning that my boy and husband in heaven with their savior was to their gain and my loss. wondering how to move forward with a heart of flesh instead of stone. knowing that i can plan and dream and create, but i cannot control and am given no guarantee that fun or rest or simple monotony will follow. i am promised trouble, and joy. i don’t know how to expect both. i don’t know how to pray.
…in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express…
Michael Card is on to something. as i lament, as i weep and wail and honestly express all the things i’m thinking and feeling, the One who translates it all crosses over the bridge and engulfs me with His very safe presence.
Young gives the meaning of rest as “rest again, cease from, rest thoroughly.” Rest again is the word for today. We are not promised smooth roads, but rough. When things are smooth we should look up in delight and thanksgiving, thinking of them as breathing spaces rather than as the normal condition of things. Rough roads make it certain that we shall often come to our Lord for rest. Our dear Lord will never be surprised by our frequent coming. He will never tire of resting us, and in the rest He gives His strength. His invitation stands sure: Come unto Me and I will give you rest, rest again.
He is in me. He is for me. He is with me. He is my hope. it is enough.
to draw further in: a playlist for times of lament. Stars by Skillet. Never let go by David Crowder. Fierce by Jesus Culture. I won’t let you go by Switchfoot. It is well by Bethel Music.