Catch up on the series here:
We have lamented. We have approached the Lord's throne with boldness, and we have brought our cries before Him.
We haven't been content to wallow at the bottom of the canyon in despair. We have walked - limped and crawled, even - and we have journeyed through.
But what have we journeyed towards? All of this putting one foot in front of the other...what has it been unto?
Restoration, right? We long for our broken hearts to be mended. The scattered bits of our life need to be put back together. We wait for this bleak and icy winter to give way to spring and sun and warmth.
We are hoping for healing. We are hoping He will make things right.
The problem with all of this, is that we live in a sinful world, full of disappointment, disease, and death. Though we still fight and war and pray and believe God for sudden miracles, as we lament, and as we hope in Him for healing and restoration, sometimes it just doesn't seem to come.
Sometimes, he is silent.
Unmoving. Unanswering. Distant.
Sometimes, He does not heal.
Sometimes, the darkness lingers. And sometimes, it gets worse.
And then? Then our minds, and our hearts, reel. If He is a good God, how could He allow this? Why didn't He fix this? Why didn't He help? Doesn't He hear me? Doesn't He even care? Is He really good? This must be a sick joke!
Millions of hours of sermons from the wisest people in the world, libraries full of theological books, and endless debates continue to tackle these pressing questions.
And then there is this little blog, and my little mind - a small, little drop in a vast ocean... I am probably a little silly to even approach this topic, but you can just take it all for whatever it's worth...
I am beginning to wonder, at least in my own life and experiences, if I am journeying through the darkness and lamenting and wrestling with God and missing His healing. ...or maybe missing the point altogether...
What if, on our deserted islands of darkness - longing for rescue - we are so obsessed with scanning the skies, waiting, watching and hoping for a helicopter to come and save us, that we missed the life boat approaching on the horizon...? We were so caught up in listening for the beat of the helicopter's prop, that we missed the sound of sand crunching as the life boat landed on the beach?
In struggling through a fifth miscarriage, we look for healing to come in the form of a healthy, breathing, full-term baby, finally. But what if healing comes in the form of two adopted babies? Children who were in need of hope and healing, themselves?
In limping through financial demise, we look for healing in the form of a new job or a prosperous business deal to make ends meet. But what if healing comes in the form of a new-found freedom and perspective in having less?
In suffering through years of cancer, we hope for healing to come in the form of remission. But what if healing comes in heaven? And several other families experience physical healing through an organ donation?
We might long for God to heal our depression - to finally feel a bit of joy again - but we may find healing comes as our ongoing struggle with depression brings opportunity to minister to others who struggle with the same darkness.
Let's go a step deeper, even.
In lamenting, and in bringing our cries straight to Him and in journeying through, are we hoping for healing in a change of situation? In an end? In a light at the end of the tunnel? In a feeling of joy and happiness?
Are we journeying towards healing as if it were a thing, or are we journeying towards our Healer? The Person?
What if, in all of this mess, the point was to journey towards Him? A more intimate relationship with Him? A deeper knowledge of His heart, of His love for us, of His purposes in the world...
I won't lie to you. From the world's perspective, the journey towards Him, and the journey with Him isn't always pretty. It isn't always easy. We will die to ourselves and participate in His suffering.
This means it is costly.
There is sacrifice. There is pain.
This means our hearts will break and our guts will wrench and our souls will cry out as we experience our own suffering, and as our eyes are opened to more and more injustice across the globe.
(And that is a big but. ...Not to be confused with "butt"...)
As we die to ourselves, we are made alive in Christ! And as we participate in His suffering (and fellowship with Him in it), we will also participate in His resurrection!
In seeking Him - The Healer, the Great Physician, Comforter, Protector, Provider, the Beginning and the End - we will find true healing and restoration. It won't always come as we expect, and in the time frame we desire, but it will come...and it will be deeper and more lasting and more transformational and much, much more powerful than the healing we even imagined in the first place.
I know those last couple paragraphs may have sounded a little trite to those of us who are wrestling with really, really dark stuff today...
On my darkest days, when I doubt true healing and restoration will ever come, and when I am just plain mad about the sick joke of a life I am living in, my only consolation is to know that He is present. He is grieving over the fallenness and brokenness of the world (and of my heart) with me, alongside me.
I say to Him, "This sucks. This life is not as it should be! You should hurry up and fix this mess!"
I hear Him say, "I know. We agree. This is not as it should be. You should have seen Eden. I can't wait to come, split the sky, and bring all things to restoration and resurrection."
I exhale. Sigh a big sigh.
And, I inhale, and keep going. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep journeying through, and towards and with my Healer.