Her sobs were too much to hold in. They burst from her with such power, it was as if every organ, muscle, tissue and bone were pushing it out all together. The wails pierced the world around her and flew high. Some would think they’d lift up only to be held in by the ceiling, but no–they pierced the veil of heaven. This broken, broken world.
She was at the end of herself. Perhaps she’d been there for a while, but had a strategic way to fool herself into believing she was keeping herself above water, distracting from the pain. But the demands of her roles and her expectations of what all of that should look like, collided in this moment. And she asked herself, why bother trying? In this moment all felt futile. And she felt worthless and unable to rise to expectations.
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR ANYWAY?
Something about the human way pulls us to hope, and longs for love, fulfillment, peace, happiness and an escape from the drudgery of life. Whether we’ve been told we do or do not deserve these things is beside the point. They are a part of our longing and we reach for them daily.
All throughout the day, we put out signals–radars–to our outside world. Am I enough? Loved? Worthy? The answers we receive back can be so disappointing. And the good feedback we receive is short-lived before we need more. Or we might turn inward, studying all our incompetencies and illegitimate identities, feeling like a fraud. So we numb, stuff away and ignore. On the outside, our masks go on. We raise our defenses. On the inside, we weave lies around our heart that begin to turn into chains.
WHERE IS THIS PLACE OF FULFILLMENT
For short increments of time, our masks, defensive strategies, and lies work for us. Our avoidance of pain and fear is effective. We can avoid these feelings for a time by hiding behind a screen. Or behind big smiles and friendly jokes. We might hide by avoiding calls, texts and face to face interaction. Or maybe we turn to the one thing that seems to satisfy and turn it on overdrive. We are convinced this way of the broken world is the only way.
Before we know it, we arrive at that place, again. The one where we land in our muck, disgusted at ourselves for not ever getting this life thing right.
We’ve fallen into the very definition of insanity and still lie to ourselves. The next go around will be different, we say. The pursuit continues, the fall flat on our face follows.
And so, this woman grieves. There is no hope. As her wails pierce the heavens, the sorrowful cries echo throughout where a forgotten God hears them. And she hears His whisper across her soul.
You don’t have to fight this alone.
His whisper was a breeze, blowing through her fortress of chains, whistling in her ears, blowing through her hair.
Fresh air in a stale, dark place. Nothing changed here in her circumstances, but in that moment Enough supernaturally filled her. Without any resolution, she realized fulfilling life is offered to her right inside this moment, in this broken world, holding her in her sorrow.
LOOKING UP AT OUR VICTORIOUS KING
Her cries circle around Him, and she expected to see her shadows of shame darken her Lord. But her sorrow didn’t take away from the perfection and joy of Him, but rather, added to it. For in the image of such sorrow, the victorious King stood even brighter. In the midst of her sorrow, His character and truth were magnified. It seemed impossible at first, but when she looked up at Him, rather than within herself, Light spread everywhere, even into the hopeless parts of her soul and she saw with new eyes.
“So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. John 16:22 NLT
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT
INVITED INTO VICTORY WHILE LIVING IN THE MIDDLE OF STRUGGLE
It feels trite, in the middle of this broken world, to just point you to victory and say, it’s there! Believe it! Hold it in your heart as undying truth!
What you feel and experience in this broken world is real. It hurts. It’s done some damage. We fight to patch over, fix and make new only to find we have no real skills qualifying us for this work.
We cannot make new. Not on our own.
But He can. And He wants to partner with us.
And even more promising and hope-filling, is that He can make new right here even in the places that fight against goodness and joy. In the face of evil, God invites us to live as though we’ve already conquered that evil, because He has. As His sons and daughters, we lay down our roots in Him, grow as His child, blessed and beloved and extending His love to others. It is a Kingdom we cannot yet see, but the Holy Spirit in us allows us to feel it and be filled by Him right now.
As we live and build life on earth, may our eyes be ever focused on that which is unseen, but ignited inside us. A miraculous filling of hope even when it doesn’t make sense. A spectacular dose of joy in every circumstance. A war cry of victory, no matter how beat down we may feel. These gifts are ours to claim, right now. He extends them to us as gifts of armor accompanying His Spirit, living inside us. Join me in the coming weeks as we talk about each of these armor-gifts here on the blog.
LIVING TRUTH OUT IN COMMUNITY WITH OTHERS
May we look to our right and to our left, and link arms with our brothers and sisters, united in this truth–that Christ is before us, behind us, in us and all around us. We are His and He is ours, and in this identity, we can claim victory here in the middle of our broken. Together, and in Him, we can live in His Kingdom come here on earth.
Thanks for listening,
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