I am very heavy hearted today.
I had planned to write a different post for today, and I will probably write it later this week, but I am just too burdened to write much. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that way–the reality of this broken world confronts you so powerfully that it sucks the life right out of you. It drains you and breaks your heart and siphons off all your creative juices. That is how I feel today.
Right now Ike and I are watching a friend go through a time of suffering. In a lot of ways we feel incredibly helpless, and there are some nights when all I want to do is lie on the floor and weep because I feel so tired and sick about it. Other times I sit in a chair and literally shake with rage. This world is just not as it should be.
Yesterday morning at church, Joni Eareckson Tada spoke on the subject of suffering, and so much of what she said was helpful for me as I process this situation. In case you are unfamiliar with her story, she has been a quadriplegic for 45 years after diving into shallow water and injuring her spine as a teenager. Her testimony is powerful, and she is both spunky and searingly honest.
Following her message, the one thing that stuck with me was her emphasis on God’s self-giving love. In the face of suffering, God does not give advice; He gives Himself. That is to say, God does not comfort the sufferer with words of explanation. He doesn’t tell them to “buck up” because it’ll get better one day. Yes, Scripture contains teachings about suffering and how we should understand it, but God’s first response is to comfort with His presence. There is perhaps no better example of this than the coming of His Son to earth. God did not meet our brokenness with words of salvation, but instead with a flesh-and-blood Savior.
That aspect of God’s character is comforting on days like today when my spirit is so heavy that I have no words to give. We live in a fallen world where people hurt one another without remorse, and I know this fact grieves God more than anyone else. That said, I am not going through this experience in isolation, nor am I forging a new path. God has already gone before me, and my heart cries only echo His agony.
There is something oddly comforting about that truth.
So today, as my emotional well seems ever so dry, I will welcome God’s nearness. I pray my friend will feel God’s nearness as well. And I hope that, during this dark season, my own loving support and friendship will also communicate the loving presence of God. That is all I have to give, but maybe it is also best.