Friday, October 19, 2012

Beauty in the Pain

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”  Romans 8:18, 22-25

Many of you know that I had a miscarriage last week and lost our baby.  Since then, I have been overwhelmed with encouragement and support from tons of people.  This love has helped to hold me up on the hardest days, especially at the beginning.  But as I look at the days and weeks and years ahead, I know that I will always wonder at the logic of God’s plan. 

It’s so easy to forget that He is in charge of our lives and we can put our total trust in Him…no matter what!  It was really easy to trust in God’s plan when it was perfectly aligned with my own plan.  I just KNEW that God was going to bless this pregnancy and we would get to hold this baby in our arms soon.  But I was wrong.  I was wrong to assume that God was going along with the ideas and plans for my life that I had.  God can see the years of our lives spread out before us and He knows just what we need.  He knows that the pain and emptiness gives birth to beauty and a fuller faith.  He knows it hurts – and He knows that it won’t really ever go away. 

So, I’ve been wrestling with God’s promises this last week and striving to see the beauty in the pain and emptiness.  I don’t see it yet – but I know that I will – and then I will understand.  I might not understand until the Lord calls me home – but I will understand one day.

Yesterday, I was reading out of my Valley of Vision book.  This book is a compilation of Puritan prayers and devotions.  You may think – boring – but you should check it out.  This book is awesome.  Anyway, the first devotion is called “The Valley of Vision” – and I want to share it with you.

The Valley of Vision
Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
   where I live in the depths but see thee
         in the heights;
    hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold
         thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
    that the way down is the way up,
    that to be low is to be high,
    that the broken heart is the healed heart,
    that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
    that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
    that to have nothing is to possess all,
    that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
    that to give is to receive,
    that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from
    deepest wells,
    and the deeper the wells the brighter
         thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
    thy life in my death,
    thy joy in my sorrow,
    thy grace in my sin,
    thy riches in my poverty
    thy glory in my valley.

We have the promise that even in the deepest of wells, the daytime stars can still be seen…and the deeper the wells, the brighter the stars shine.  It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s true.  I am finding that as I grieve and question what has happened, there is brightness all around me.  There is beauty in the pain – not the kind of beauty that we seek after, but the kind of beauty that we NEED!  There is fuller faith to be found in the emptiness – not that we wish for emptiness but we need emptiness to create in us a fuller faith.

I’ve been chewing on these thoughts the last few days and wanted to share them with you.  If you are in the midst of a storm, no matter how small or violent it may be, there is beauty in the struggle – if we give it up to God.  So, I encourage you – give your struggle up to God and eventually you will find the beauty that He intends for you to see - AND you will see your faith grow by leaps and bounds in this storm.  I look forward to experiencing this myself!

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness."  James 1:2-3

 “O Lord, all my longing is before you;
 My sighing is not hidden from you.
 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
 And the light of my eyes – it also has gone from me.
 But for you, O Lord, do I wait;
 It is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”  Psalm 38:9-10, 15

With love - to those who are hurting,