This weekend I went home. Not for a celebration or fun-filled weekend, but to sit in an ever-changing and tumultuous time with my family. A time that inevitably every family experiences in one way or another. I had a lot of opportunities to think, ponder and get lost in my own mind. It’s something I do with great skill while other people ask me if I’m okay.
None of us are really okay.
Yet, there is an ever-crushing internal pressure to appear as if we are. I’ve never been a fan of this method of self-destruction. Brush it under the rug, tidy it up and put a bandaid on it.
It’s curious that this is human nature when we know, deeply, that every person who graces this earth will encounter heartbreak, anxiety, trouble and pain.
A couple of years ago, after a surgery, things went really wonky for me. My body didn’t heal like it should have. My heart did odd physical things. And in the midst of that I became really afraid. I wasn’t okay. I had a lot of time to feel all those heavy things and wrap my arms tightly around them. Strangely, over time, my response to my trial became thankfulness.
Not thankful for the trial, but thankful to be present. To feel, to be alive to struggle and seek God in that struggle. I’ve watched friend after friend meet their own trials. Some with grace and some with despair that eventually transitioned into grace. I’m astounded by how incredibly beautiful it is to live fully in both the depths of what feels like destruction and the heights of life’s celebrations. Can we fully appreciate one without the other?
John 16 has always been a great source of comfort and encouragement to me. In this passage Jesus is anticipating his arrest and his death on the cross. He speaks to the disciples, telling them of the sorrow and hardship to come. But, the sorrow is not without the promise of joy.
When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
I truly believe that there is no trial, no pain and no struggle without purpose. It’s part of our journey here. But all of this hurt comes with the promise that Jesus has already overcome it all. Read the very words of Jesus in John 16 and 17. Let him speak to your heart today. It’s okay to not be okay but don’t sit in it alone. We are more than conquerors.