“Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die to get there.” (anonymous)
Every once in awhile life throws us a curve ball. We remember these moments because they are rare and game-changing. It is never easy to face these challenges; we work hard at avoiding them, but life happens. At times like these, it is helpful to remember that there is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.
God is more interested in developing our character than in providing us with a smooth journey. By experiencing difficulties we learn that “we hold these treasures in clay pots to show that the absolute power belongs to God and not ourselves. We are often troubled but not crushed, sometimes in doubt, but not despair. There are many enemies, but we are not without a friend, and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.” 2 Cor. 4:7-9.
None of us choose to walk through the “valley”, but I once heard that it is in the valley that the fruit grows. Great testimonies all come out of the crucible of life and they guide us on our way as we learn from each about the faithfulness of God.
And that’s what it’s all about—God’s faithfulness. When we come to the edge of the cliff, and there is no way forward but to jump, we need to know that God is there to catch us. Here He proves His love and surrounds us with supernatural peace that is above our circumstances. It is ironic that some of our greatest moments with God are found in the midst of our greatest disappointments.
If we could see the end from the beginning, it would perhaps be easier to trust and have faith. We would know that ultimately “all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Rom. 8:28
Because we do not have that perspective, we have to let the Shepherd guide us through the deep waters to green pastures. “He makes me lie down in green pastures” Ps. 23:2 He carries us through the flood.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
The flames will not consume you.” Is. 43:2
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11
But it comes at a cost—death. Death of a dream, a hope, even our own lives.
“Resurrection” by Elaine Knudtson
The eternal “No” silences my hopes.
I crawl into a ball and weep for a dream that vanished like a sunset in the darkening sky.
Why? I can’t even ask. I sit in silence. No words come.
To think is too painful; the wound too deep, the scab too fresh.
But I’m surrounded by this death.
The stench of the wound fills my nostrils and I can’t smell the fragrance of the flowers.
My tears cloud my eyes and I can not see the smile of a child.
My hands are tightly clenched and I cannot feel the softness of your touch on my cheeks.
I cannot hear, “I love you” when I am deaf to life because of my pain.
Coldness, tightness, intensity;
It will never end.
I faint away and release the pain.
I feel nothing.
Then, I forget my hurt for a moment and laugh.
I notice the silver on the willow in the rain.
I hear the harmony of the birds and the river as if for the first time.
An unexpected visit, a text from a beloved friend or a distant relative, a kind gesture from a stranger—angels unaware.
The infinite time gives way to the rhythm of the day and I inhale the cool air once again.
Slowly hope returns, and the way through the fog emerges.
When I turn and look back, I can see that I was not alone.
At times, I can even see that the diversion sent me on a new path far better than the one I had set for myself.
But even so, at times I can’t look back because it is dark and will always be dark and there will never be anything there but pain.
I have heard your voice in the night.
The warmth of your love caresses me,
I see your pain in the midst of my own as we
Walk through the baptism of death into the light of new dreams
Through the resurrection.