I say this with deep faith. Mark and I have walked and are still walking in heartbreak in regard to Christi and Bobby. Yet, I know that God has been in the midst of our lives during these many years. I have waited for my storybook ending that has not come. However, life moves forward - there are daily joys and sorrows. We have been blessed with precious friends and those who would be our enemies. Sadly, often those enemies have come in the form of men who would call themselves brothers in Christ. The works of Satan have been evident. Through it all, our hope has remained in Christ. Bad things happen in this life. But, when one looks closer past the evil that accompanies life in this world a great truth is revealed.
God is present. And, more importantly his presence is abiding. He is the underlying anchor that holds my heart and mind. He is whom my mind lingers on in the still of the midnight hours. All my hope, all my longings rest in the truth of the scripture, which was fulfilled in the living Christ. This world is fading. It is fallen. It is not my home.
But, in my despairing moments, I can succumb to self-pity. I can compare my life to others - others that have not seen the suffering I have endured. Others who never knew anything but their parent's love or their siblings warm embrace. Others who were able to watch all of their beloved children grow and mature. Others who never watched a husband's career put to ruin by lies from adulterous pastors. Others who seem to have it all: all the financial security, all the praise from men. Even now I as write these words, sorrow and pain swell up in my heart. So, I push past the hurt, the anger, and the ugliness.
I have sat with Job in the ashes and begged for God to remove me from the earth. I have wished that I had never breathed my first breath. I have paused in the deepest darkest places in my heart and wished for some semblance of revenge - of payback - of shame for those who have hurt me and those I love. My thoughts have not always stayed on Christ.
Still, I find that I return to Him. I return to the Word. I pick my Bible up and challenge God to comfort me in my anguish. Often, my eyes are not able to focus on the letters but God prevails. His Spirit within me begins to beckon my wounded soul with long remembered verses.... "Be Still and Know that I am God." "I will never leave nor forsake you." "In my Father's House are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you." "You are the apple of My eye and I will hide you under the shadow of my wing.".... Finally, His words transport my heart, my spirit to Him and his loving shadow. And, I see Him.
I see my Lord. Not the Lord from paintings - of the Jesus in a flowing white robe with the sad eyes holding out His hands to me. I see Jesus. I see Him beaten, bruised, weary.... and joyful. I see Him strong and not simply holding out his hands to me but seeking me and calling out my name. And finally, I feel His Spirit within me reminding me of a single simple truth, "I died that you may have life abundantly. I died to pay the price that sin requires. I died for you because I love you."
Jesus is always blessing me through this one eternal act - He died to save me. He starts in my spirit. He assures me of His love and He takes the blinders off my heart so that I can see His goodness in the midst of the pain of this world. I see my husband's face. I hear Michael and Paul's voices. I am reminded of precious friends who are better to me than family. I remember that I was born in a free country. I remember that blessings in this world are mixed with the sorrow.