Thursday, April 20, 2017

On finding hope when your heart is broken

I've spent a good part of my life praising Jesus from a field of sunshine. There were occasional storms that passed overhead, but most did not linger. I would have even told you during those storms that I thought I understood pain and heartbreak. But not nearly the way I do now.

My life and heart are broken wide open. The enormity of what I feel seems like it can't be contained inside my own body. It seems impossible that the human heart can handle this. There's so much jammed down inside exploding from within. Hence the brokenness. When your heart cannot handle the magnitude of the situation, it breaks. And all that is held within starts to pour through the cracks. It feels like living life outside my own capacity, outside my own body. It feels like I thought this would crush me into oblivion, but it broke me instead, and now my heart keeps beating and my body keeps functioning and the life flows out of me and I wonder how long it can go on for but there's just no end in sight to all that has been kept inside. Pain is an immeasurable substance. And the resilience of the human heart is a miracle. To be broken but not die? In the brokenness I have met Jesus again and He has proven Himself to me in ways I never knew Him before. His faithfulness, His love, His pursuit of me and His goodness. He is true. Always true. Always who He says He is. And in the midst of my brokenness I've found intimacy with my creator that I cannot describe. So much so that I wonder how I ever thought I was alive before this. The paradox. In the midst of something that feels like death, I've found life. Maybe true life doesn't come from whether my heart is beating or not, maybe it comes from relationship with the one who created my heart in the first place. Not just relationship, but the knowledge that He has held my beating heart from the beginning.

Things look and feel hopeless to me. But my hope does not come from the way things around me look. My hope is found in my miracle working God. And the fact that He promises to work all things for my good. And that He won't ever leave me or forsake me. Ever. My hope is not in man. Every single one of us has sinned and fallen short. We all have been hurt and caused hurt. My faith is not in man. My hope is in Jesus. He makes a way where there is no way. He has proven himself over and over again.

I am still standing in a field. And I am still praising Jesus. Only the torrential downpours are like none I've known, and the sunshine feels far, far away. What does it look like to sing in the sunshine? I remember it was sweet, it was beautiful, it was lovely and peaceful. But what does it look like to shout out the goodness of God at the top of your lungs in the midst of a hurricane, with your arms lifted high and the rain pounding your face and mixing with the tears pouring from your eyes?  What does it look like to proclaim with all your heart that God is good when your situation feels anything but good? What does it feel like to scream against the roar of the wind and the rain "I TRUST YOU GOD! YOU ARE FAITHFUL!" when your heart has been betrayed to the utmost by man?
Words fail to do justice to the power, the breathtaking juxtaposition of faith and hope in the face of pain and heartache, the strength found in surrender, the valiant battle cry that arises from within when you are broken wide open and the only place left to go is TRUST. The resilience and strength and fire and fight that is found inside when you are broken open and the life is spilling out with the rain. And while that fire and that fight is startling to those looking on at the miraculous spectacle taking place in that wide open field in the midst of the beating rain, the one most shocked of all is me. I stand with my arms up and my life flowing outside of me and my heart shattered in pieces and yet I feel the surge of hope and faith and strength rise within and it spreads fire through my veins and stirs fight in my soul and out of the corners of my eyes I see an army rising... I see wounded and broken and hurting people standing to their feet, fists in the air, screaming at the storm, shouting in the rain, proclaiming God's glory, His righteousness, His goodness, His holiness, His faithfulness.... An army of those wounded by the enemy... little did he know.... their wounds, their brokenness, the pain he inflicted... it would only make them stronger. And so I rise. I stand. I pour my heart out in the rain and I prophesy to the storm. I say "Storm you cannot win! You do not have the final say! You do not define me! Storm you will bow before the almighty name of Jesus!! The voice of the one living inside of me is louder than your wind! It is fiercer than your rain! It's roar will drown out your fury! The one who lives inside of me will outlast you and will conquer you, and I will praise Jesus even as you do your worst."

And someday.... a day I've not yet seen, but I know will come, as sure as the dawn... The storm clouds will spend themselves dry. The last of the pellets of rain will fade to a shower... their fury spent, their strength used up.... The clouds will begin to part. The sun, that foreign light, will break through. The warmth will creep back in as the gray covering peels back and recedes to the horizon.

And up from the ground.... new life will emerge. Things buried and dead will begin to grow. Fragile shoots of green will push their way slowly up, through the cracks in my heart.

Though it be buried deep, hope does not die.
Hope will never die.

The most beautiful song: Find Me