We’ve only known 2018 for a smidge over 3 weeks, and it has unloaded a series of gut punches. Amongst friends, family, and our community we all enter this fourth week of the new year gasping for some air from what must be some cracked ribs from the force of the impact.
Facing one way, ready for the battle, we are sucker punched from a blind spot leaving us at a loss for words as we nurse the wounds. Trying to make sense of senselessness. Trying to put chaos into tidy categories. Trying to find words that fit the bill for the steep payments of loss and brokenness.
It’s in these moments of shaken foundation and scorched earth that the lie of a vacant Heaven comes riding on the wind of the storm. I mean, how could God allow these dark hours? How could He stand by and observe the rib cracking blows of a 24 day old year? Doesn’t He see my lacerated heart and shaking hands? Doesn’t He know I can barely catch my breath from the news?
I, like so many others in our community and families, am trying to process through the pain. I have found that Heaven is not vacant and the presence of God is more sure and sustainable than any other source I’ve found. There are those who hear that God is in Heaven and the thought is that we are still separated by a million miles of hurt, but I have found that when I reach out for Him from the lowest pit, I find Him in the pit with me. When I’ve leaned my head back and cried my heart out to the Heavens, there is genuine rest in knowing I can lean over and find Him in the pit with me, ready to steady my weakened body. He hasn’t forgotten me or overlooked my condition. In fact, He reminds me in Isaiah 49:15 that – “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!”
I’m not forgotten! You’re not forgotten! In the hospital waiting room. In the cancer center. In the bedroom saying goodbye to a loved one finishing their race. In the belly of the whale. In the heart failure wing. In the nursing home. In the pit, thrown in by your brothers. In the courtroom. In the operating room. He’s there! He’s Sovereign in Heaven and He’s embraceable in the pit. He’s there to take our grief and cracked ribs as His own. He’s there to relieve our labored breathing in exchange for His. He’s not there to give us sense in the senselessness, but instead to give Hope in the hurt and buoyancy in the tsunami.
So, as we walk these remaining days ahead, may we in love and confidence remind one another that we have the Prince of life in the pit with us.