Monday, December 17, 2012

how to give thanks when your heart is breaking?

I stumble out bleary-eyed from too much sleep, thankful my baby girl has slept an incredible 8 hours in a row... and the radio is squawking out more details of this nauseating, heart-breaking thing.

This thing that defies belief.

This thing that has me screaming silently at the sky, "Are You there, God?  Are you GOOD?"

How can You possibly be good if You allow 7-year-old lives to be brutally shattered by bullets?  If You allow families to be torn apart without warning, on just another a normal blue-sky day, just like the one we had yesterday?

How. can. You. be. good. if You just stand by and watch a twisted human being, made in Your image, explode sweet, creative hearts into a bloody mess?  Shred parents' hearts into a mess of bleeding grief?

How is it possible for one of Your image bearers to inflict this horror on other human beings?

I numbly chew my toast and drink tasteless tea as I battle in my spirit with You: How can I keep thanking You for Your goodness when my heart is aching?  When their hearts will never quite heal?  

I was splashing in waves with my own sweet boys yesterday...

Why do I get to keep my kids, when they had to kiss theirs goodbye?

In the shower, the sluggish thought surfaces: Today is Monday, a day for giving thanks

Today is always a day for giving thanks.  How do I give thanks for this?

I don't have answers.  I just don't.  I won't offer trite words that would sound hollow.  I will just say how utterly, desperately sad I am for each family plunged into this nightmare.  And I will say that I do still believe what the Words tell me, the only Words that are self-authenticatingly true:

I still believe it with my head, doggedly, that He works all things together for good, even unbelievable atrocity.  

My head believes; honestly, my heart is struggling.  I am wildly flailing with the ache of how unfair it seems.  

But. I. am. thankful.

I am thankful for life, today.  I am thankful for each moment with my sweet children.  For their soft skin, their sparkling eyes, the sound of their laughter.  I'm thankful for the sweaty grip of their hands in mine, that I get to kiss their ow-ies and put bandaids on scrapes, that I get to tuck them into bed at night and feel their wet kisses on my cheeks.

I am deeply, truly, achingly grateful.

And no, it isn't fair.

I didn't have the answer to what to write in the second half of this post until just now, walking back from the post shop where I sent a tiny Christmas package full of music, nail polish and dinosaur tattoos to a friend who also has three gorgeous children....  Children who at this very moment are alive.  Breathing.  While someone else's gorgeous children are dead.

While I walked, I couldn't breathe for the ache of it.  I was struggling for breath, walking down the street, pushing my brand-new daughter in front of me, when these words scrolled through my brain.  At first, just this phrase:

"He who did not spare His own Son..."

I nearly stopped walking.  My brain repeated that one line, over and over, fumbling around for the rest of the verse:
"He who did not spare His. own. Son...
but gave Him up for us all...

He gave up His own Son for us.  And I would question His goodness?  

"He who did not spare His own Son,

but gave Him up for us all,

how will He not also

with Him..."

We have His Son.  He gave us His only Son.  Gave Him to us, in every conceivable way.  Gave us His Son's blood, poured it streaming down a horrible cross.  Gave us the breath from His Son's lungs.

When we have lost our sons, our daughters - when He takes them away - we have His.  

He gave us His Son.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all,

how will He not also with Him 

graciously give us all things?"

~Romans 8:32

All things.  Things like... comfort.



Life, forever.

He promises He will graciously give us all things - with His Son.  In His Son.

When we have Christ, we have...

all things.

When I get home, I look up the reference.  Romans 8:32.  Just 4 verses after those other words I found it so hard to believe this morning: Romans 8:28, that He works all things together for good.  All things.  All things.  

Just 4 short verses separate the "all things" of our lives from the "all things" we have in Christ.

The God who did not spare His own Son, but who graciously gives us all things when He gives His Son to us, is the same God who works all things together for good.  

I can believe that, with my head, and my heart.

{With our deepest sympathy and prayers for the families of the victims of the Connecticut shooting. May the God of all comfort wrap you in His arms....}


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