Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 15, 2014
Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" Ps 10:1

Some days it seems as though sorrow is a permanent fixture. It welcomes you as you rise, hangs on your walls, and follows you through your day. Sometimes this sadness is my own, my uncle’s passing, my grandmother fading, my children hurting. Other times your heart aches for those around you as grief engulfs their lives. In those moments we question God, His goodness, His existence, His love. How can there be a God when the world is contaminated with evil and pain? Where is God when I am hurting and broken and lost? I know I am not the first to ponder these questions or even to put my thoughts to paper. In the passage above even King David, whose intimacy with God far surpasses my own, sometimes questioned God’s presence in his life. There have been many blogs, books and conferences investigating this topic and the questions go as far back as the beginning of time. In the time of Genesis, Job protested:
“Even today my complaint is bitter;
    his hand is heavy in spite of groaning.
If only I knew where to find him;
    if only I could go to his dwelling!
“But if I go to the east, he is not there;
    if I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
    when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
Job 23:2-3, 8-9
I was pondering these questions the other day as my girlfriend shared the loss of her aunt. Pain veiled her face and the recent grief of my uncle rose up inside me. Where is God, I wondered.  At that moment I heard Him gently revealing to me, “Your eyes are focused on the wrong place.” And as the words pierced through the pain, I realized that all the while I was pondering His existence and presence, I was rubbing the beautiful, pregnant belly of my friend. Suddenly my focus changed and I felt like my eyes were opened.  In that moment, God graciously flashed moments of my greatest pain before my eyes, but in these glimpses He revealed to me His consistent presence and His unfailing love.  My best friend arriving at my grandfather’s funeral just as I felt I could no longer breathe, my first daughter being born on the year anniversary of Jon’s cousins death establishing beauty from ashes, my girlfriend’s invitation to new life when I was ready to end my own, my son’s kisses on my tear-streaked face and my husband’s embrace at the end of a day whose weight had seemed unbearable. 
It is true, in this life there will be pain; death, divorce, conflict, suicide and loss. In these moments, it is inevitable to wonder if there is a purpose to this life that is littered with pain.  One girlfriend recently commented, “We are made to suffer.”  In her anguish, I am certain it feels this way, and I know I have allowed pain’s snare to lead me to similar conclusions. Yes,we will suffer, but we will also rejoice.  And in our suffering, we will also experience life. 
The most horrific day for me was when my cousin died in March of 2005.  He was only 16.  He died in a car accident not far from where I live now.  I revisit his death regularly.  The injustice and senselessness have caused me to question God’s character and has the ability to incapacitate me. At the time I felt so unbelievably guilty as I carried my unborn child within me to the funeral while my aunt and uncle buried their own. I felt raw sitting in the pew.  Moments such as these reveal your vulnerability and defenselessness.  The pastor lovingly shared how the Virgin Mary lost her own child tragically and therefore heaven could relate. In those moments I felt Katherine Rose flutter within me for the first time. I was not sure at first, but then the sensation came again.  The despair did not lessen with her movement, but it helped to realign my focus.  We are not made to suffer, but there will be suffering. 
“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NLT
It would be so easy to allow the world’s troubles to engulf us as we question the purpose of our existence and the futility of our efforts, but rest assured, He has promised beauty from our ashes…
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
  and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3
I cannot understand the purpose in the loss of a child or in a number of other sorrows.  I cannot imagine trying to look beyond the grief that consumes you, but what I can assure you is that there will be a day when your eyes will see God’s goodness, in the smile of a friend, in the majesty of nature, in the joy of laughter.  Then your eyes will begin to refocus and as you look back you will see, that even in your grief, God was there holding your hand, or bringing you a meal, or sitting next to you in silence, or like me fluttering from within. This is His promise, And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 ISV


















  1. Love you, my beautiful friend. Your writing will bring healing to many. Keep on.

  2. This really spoke to me tonight. Sometimes I miss posts on FB but mysteriously I just happened upon (or did I...) your post with your blog link...


  3. Thank you ladies! Love you both!! Faith, wish I got to see you last week, Miss your gorgeous face

  4. Beautiful and rich and real, Maria. I've a theory that the second post is the hardest to write, and you wrote it within two days of your first. Well done. Keep it up.

    1. Thank you Roger!!! I appreciate your encouragement and miss you and Joy so much, Btw, Baby David is absolutely beautiful. What a blessing. Love you guys!!!