I went to bed with her on my mind.
I woke up with her on my mind.
I sent her a text as soon as I got out of bed to tell her that I was praying for her…praying hard. Praying that during their appointment that morning, they would hear the heartbeat.
Knowing that this type of appointment was all too familiar to them.
She texted back and told me she had been listening to a particular song over and over again. Clinging to the words. Making them her own.
She sent me the link to it and as I sat there watching the youtube video, I was overwhelmed.
As I sat and listened to the lyrics, I couldn’t keep the tears back.
I texted her and said this, “Those are perfect, beautiful truths. They are hard to grasp and hard to understand, but they are truths nonetheless.”
Truth is a strange thing.
We can know it in our heads and yet feeling it in our hearts is another matter.
And at no other time are we more aware of this duality than when we are hurting. When life feels so overwhelming and so unbearable that we simply cannot imagine a time when we weren’t in so much pain.
But God’s truths, the truths about who He is, His character, His promises…they don’t change. Even when our circumstances do.
Even when there is deep pain.
Even when there is confusion.
Even when there seems to be no answer.
Even when there is betrayal.
Even when there is unbearable grief.
There are times in our lives when we feel like we are dangling from a tree branch. The wind is whipping all around, the rain is pouring down on us, the thunder and lightning crash and we are clinging to that branch with all of our strength but we can feel our fingers slipping as we doubt that this branch can hold us. Or, more accurately, that WE can hold onto IT.
When we cling to God’s truths, it doesn’t mean that the storms just magically disappear. It simply means that we are miraculously given the strength to keep holding on in the midst of the storm.
We cling to the truth that God is…
Because He is ALWAYS those things. Those truths don’t change even when our lives don’t go according to our plans.
And as we are able to embrace that duality of knowing the truth even when we don’t feeling the truth, we reach a new level in our relationship with Him.
Oswald Chambers says this…
“Sorrow removes a great deal of a person’s shallowness, but it doesn’t always make that person better. Suffering either gives me to myself or it destroys me. You cannot find or receive yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot receive yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial. The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience. You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he/she has plenty of time for you…If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.”
I recognize my friend as one who has been through the fires of sorrow and received herself. And I know that I can go to her in my moments of trouble just as she knows she can come to me in hers. Because she knows that I too have been through those fires.
You see, a funny thing happens when we go through those fires. Not only are we able to cling to the truths of God’s character and be refined by the ‘burning’ but we are able to praise Him even when…
Even when we don’t get the answer we wanted. And even when we do!
My sweet friend texted me later that day and said that while there was a heartbeat, they were told to prepare for the worst. That there was a 99% chance that this baby would not make it into this world.
And what did my friend do? She praised God even then. She praised Him that she had seen this baby on the screen. Heard the heartbeat as she and her husband clung to each other. She praised Him for how he was strengthening her marriage in this season. How He was revealing to her just how much she really needed to be relying on Him for everything. How GOOD He was to them and how very much they had to be grateful for. She praised even when she was mourning.
But she also prayed.
They had to wait a week, a horribly agonizing week, before the next ultrasound.
And Monday night I went to bed thinking of and praying for her.
And yesterday morning I woke up thinking of and praying for her.
I sent her a text to tell her I was praying. And I waited.
Mid-morning the text came through from her.
And I won’t tell you what it said. Because it isn’t MY story. It’s theirs.
But whether it is the news they wanted to receive or the news they didn’t, they know that the truth of who God is didn’t change…even when their circumstances did.