My blogging comes to another halt this week. We've experienced a family emergency of a very close and dear friend: she suffered the loss of a precious loved one. I went to be with her for the week, holding her hand and wiping her tears. Writing about food or our vacation feels cheap and plastic right now. My heart cannot go there.
Between that and my dear friend Anjie's loss of a precious family dog (who was hit by a car; her 4 boys are heartbroken and so is she), life feels a little scary. OK--a lot scary. Unpredictable. Vulnerable. The scents of permanent loss and events that can't be changed hang in the air. I just want to close the curtains and lock the doors and sit on my nest with all the chicks safely tucked under my wings.
God pours out His comfort in moments like this. I've clung to several verses this week:
You have seen me tossing and turning
through the night.
You have collected all my tears
and preserved them in your bottle.
You have recorded every one in Your book.
The very day I call for help,
the tide of battle turns.
My enemies flee.
This one thing I know: God is for me.
Psalm 56 8:9
I weep with grief;
my heart is heavy with sorrow;
encourage and cheer me
with your words....
Revive my heart toward you.
Psalm 119: 28, 37
I really like that last verse. It tells me that David had moments just like this where his heart was deflated and there lingered the doubts and fears regarding God's protection for us. "Why, God?" I just don't understand; I probably never will. But, to quote another friend, God's grace is sufficient enough for us to beat our fists on His chest and heave and sob until we come to the end of our anger and questions. And His love will still be there, waiting to wrap us in His great comfort and peace. Yeah. He is that good.
God's Word also tells me:
Though He brings grief,
He will show compassion,
so great is His unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring
affliction or grief
to the children of men.
when doubts fill my mind,
when my heart is in turmoil,
and give me renewed hope
What God says is true. When I praise Him in these moments, however hard it is--and it's really hard, He pours out His soothing balm on my soul, covering it like warm oil, like the feeling of having my mother gently set me on the bathroom sink and wash off the gravel and dirt from my skinned knee, placing the Band-Aid with a perfectly tender touch, sealing it with a kiss. It's that feeling--God acknowledging my pain and my friend's inconceivable loss, and the utter scariness of life and weeping with us (which Scripture says He does). But I have to remember that it is through the gifts He gives us of our children, spouses, friends and family (and pets!), which, when we lose present us with the greatest anguish, also give us our lives' greatest joys. So I will praise Him. Even when my heart is broken.
Thank you for understanding, friends. You won't waste a prayer on either of these situations.