Bare stalks reach for the winter sky.
Clouds hang gloom and press heavy, crushing us to the ground.
Warm summer days and harvest long gone,
all that is left is an occasional dried pod shivering in the icy wind.
Tears burn a frozen line down my cheeks.
Here in this place, the only language is tears.
When life has seemed so full of promise, so full of hope,
now we stagger in the face of loss.
I look at my hands, and I have nothing to offer.
I see in her eyes the agony few know.
He was just here.
His laugh still echoes in our memory,
the grill on the porch where he last used it.
His shoes tossed by the back door, dirty laundry still in the basket.
At twenty, his young widow has smiled bravely.
Shone radiantly through her tears.
But the funeral is over.
And life goes on, at least for everyone else.
She feels her unborn son kick,
and a dagger pierces her heart again because he will never see his father.
At least on earth.
Pain. Heart searing into numbed agony.
Tears. Everything tastes salty.
And in all this, where is God?
I clutch the steering wheel under the white moon
on the way home from the hospital at three in the morning.
Tears drip onto my coat.
We know He is good, but how on earth do we process this?
How can God look on as this young girl is catapulted from honeymoon bliss
to cold widowhood, all at the hand of a thoughtless burglar?
I question. I whisper, even say, the words that burn a hole in my heart.
The cold creeps in around me. I reach for the heat again.
But it’s still there, under all the agony.
Under the layers and layers of gut-wrenching pain:
I know God makes no mistakes.
In the pain, He is good. In the shattered pieces, He brings new life.
From the ashes springs up a better, more glorious story.
Right now we feel the rawness of this loss.
And Jesus feels it too.
He wept when Lazarus died, even while He knew
the miracle He was about to perform.
But He also sees the end of this story,
and the priceless beauty He is working in this precious girl.
In each of us, really.
Once again we stand on the edge of a cold grave,
and dirt slips between our fingers down into the hole in front of us.
A life, so dear to us, is with God. We worship through our tears.
We say, not seeing, just knowing,
“You are good.” We lift these tear stained, mud marred hands to heaven.
And it is a sweet offering to our Maker.
To see hearts bleeding, but trusting.
Job’s words ring in my mind, and become part of breathing, part of living,
part of making it through each day of grief…
“Though you slay me, I will trust you.”
For where else would we turn? We have no one but Him.
The wind still blows cold. Months of winter are still to come.
But already the seeds of spring are sown deep into the earth,
and deep into our hearts.
We water them with our tears,
and God shines his promise of true life onto them…
The seed dies, but soon, so soon,
life will push out of this dead ground.
Soon, we too, will push past this crust of death
and burst into true life.
Because spring is coming.
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