Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Valleys of Sorrow and Peaks of Joy

I’ve lived more life at home this past year than ever before. It’s allowed for more solitude and stillness. I've been forced to slow down this year, and this carved out space is where loneliness tries to settle. I’ve faced impossible options and made hard decisions. I’ve meditated on truth that leads to life. I’ve prayed for more faith. I’ve ached for the grieving and grieved what’s been lost. I’ve finished the day weary and grateful that I was kept through the night. I’ve had to let go of my grip on temporal things and hold more tightly to things eternal.

My heart has been broken at all the hurt and I’ve lamented as my patched up heart quietly fails and turns breathing into a conscious labour. As I’ve watched death aim to plunge through the middle of life, I’ve felt the ways we are no longer equipped to walk each other home. I’ve learned we don’t understand death even as it’s been poking around in our lives. I’ve watched humans put great effort into medical practice while our souls shrivel in misplaced trust.

I’ve been slow to speak and then I’ve spoken words I want to snatch back. I’ve heard silent voices make deafening noises in my mind. I’ve read varying opinions on life-changing measures. I’ve seen vastly different approaches to unknowns in life. I’ve observed we demand to be heard, and easily dismiss the hurting. I’ve witnessed humans bash each other and trash each other and we’ve all ended up crushed in the end.

I’ve noticed we’d rather be right in life than live life with empathy. I’ve wondered if our own rights matter that much after all. People talk about the end as though they know what’s coming. I don’t even know if tomorrow my heart will keep on beating. I’ve tasted soul-crushing sorrow and washed it down with sustaining sips of sweet joy. 

We don’t walk through trauma untouched. But, in our hurt, our pain, our grief, our sorrow, we can reach out to touch another. That’s where we pass around sweetness to swallow the sorrow. We don’t weep in the valley without mourning. In our breaking, our sickness, our sinning, we can look to Jesus. That’s where we know the highest peaks of joy and perfect peace that will protect our hearts and minds, body and soul. 

This past year has awakened us to things long buried. We can pull back the shroud and see more than sickness and shadows. In the sting, there’s a superior Light ruling in these dark days. Instead of wishing to escape this life, we can wholeheartedly embrace a well-lived life. Instead of harbouring despair, we can dwell in hope.

There is a refuge, a place of safety to let go of worries and fears when they overwhelm our souls. When we turn our eyes to the radiance of God’s glory—the Author of life who upholds all things by his power—our stories end with goodness tasted, love perfected, and hope fulfilled. 

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