“Kate. I have bad news.”
Before my sister said anything else, my heart had already melted under the intensity of her words.
“No Kristen. No.”
I wanted whatever it was to be untrue. Whatever pain I was getting ready to feel and face, I needed it to not happen. All I could muster was a frantic and urgent “No.” But words can’t stop reality. The next few moments as she spoke, a stabbing pain and empathy took over my body- pushing out breath- pushing out peace. I fell to my knees as I began to picture my old friend (the rescuing kind) pierced with a shocking and viscous cancer diagnosis. My mind was filled with images of his reeling, his precious wife, his three young children. Unbearable. Unreal. “Please Lord. No. No. No.”
There have been many moments in my life where my breath was pushed out in this way by pain and I am still haunted by the memories. The way the doctor looked at me before he told me my daughter had died. The moment I found my husband hunched over on the sidewalk as his father told him his little brother had died. The moment my college roommate told me her one-year-old son had leukemia. And then again, the moment he died. My chest is pounding as I write, as I put words to the most traumatizing moments of my life. And with this fresh stinging layer of what SHOULD NOT BE I want to run away and hide from this wicked pain. I want to scream. I want to punch. I want to stop feeling. I want to make it untrue. I am so tired of sickness and death, so tired of this diseased world infecting the ones I love with sorrow.
This morning it all came to a head for me. I thought about dear Kara Tippetts and her recent home going, her family grieving the loss. I thought about my old friend and the cancer fight ahead of him. I thought about my dear friend Carrie and her mama, brain filled with tumors lying paralyzed in a hospital bed from a recent stroke. And I thought about the grieving mothers who have written to me this week. The pain was simply overwhelming and I began to spin. Each turn a little faster until I was spiraling out of control. It was full blown grief- the restless, panicked kind. I cried out- “Truth Father. Give me truth. Quickly.” I knew only His words could calm this storm. The spirit threw me a rope, a phrase-
“I am the only certain thing.”
I grabbed it and before I could even begin to contemplate its meaning, my heart began to slow, peace working its way into the panic. The fear and sadness were not gone, but peace had the steering wheel once again. Peace told death to move over. Peace knew where we were going. Peace was in control, no matter what uncertainty remained or lay ahead.
The definition of certain is: Established beyond doubt. Unquestionable. Sure. Definite. Undeniable. Irrefutable.
The spirit, who so sweetly leads us into all truth, took me to the reality that in the uncertainty of life, He, Jesus the Christ, is in fact the only certain thing. And why should that give us peace? How can that rescue us?Paul gives us the answer in Romans chapter 8-
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am certain that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The certainty that gets us through the uncertainty is that which cannot die, that which cannot be broken down by cancer or buried in a grave. The ONLY thing that cannot by thwarted or defeated is the certain love of Christ for us. This is the continuous thread that permeates this bitter life to the beautiful next. Nothing- not tribulation, not distress, not death, none of these uncertain things can separate us from the Certain One, who dwells in a certain place, with a certain purpose. And this certainty, this makes us more than conquerors Paul says.
Kara Tippett’s may have just died- but Kara conquered death (read her story here). She stared it in the face and died with grace and courage and most importantly, hope. She knew the end was not really the end. She gave the world a window into the certain One and her certain fate. She held His hand and even though cancer took her out, Jesus took her in and as she sits with Him in glory today, she is crowned as a conqueror. And from heaven, I believe, she will witness the glory of God sweeping the country, the world, as her story continues to take uncertain strugglers to the feet of the certain One.
As I think on my old friend today- as I grieve for him and pray miracles over him, I am so very grateful that the certain One holds his hand. I am so grateful that his wife can be comforted by the certainty of God’s love for her, the kind of love that will resurrect her heart from the trampling ground of grief and lift her high in the hope, peace and love of a tender, eternal God.
I wish I could fix it, don’t you? I wish I could mend all the brokenness around me. But I have nothing to give Jason Tippett’s. I have nothing to give my old friend and his wife. I have nothing to give my sweet girlfriend Carrie. I have nothing to give to all of the grieving mama’s. I cannot control or change their circumstances. I cannot give them anything to hold which will remedy or alleviate their symptoms, their pain or grief. But I do have this-
Jesus is certain. His Love for you is certain. His delight in you is certain. His death and resurrection are certain. His eternal provision and the hope of heaven is certain. His presence, His tenderness and His peace are certain. His compassion and His comfort are certain. His plan to redeem your crushing circumstances is certain. And the way He will make beauty from your ashes, the way He will work all things, even the awful, together for your good, and the way He will crush the enemy under His feet- all this is certain. His love is Unquestionable. His love is Undeniable. His love is Irrefutable. Jesus is the certain one. He is. He is. He is.
Today- I am on my knees asking the Savior to storm the walls of suffering in the lives of each of these dear ones and to generate peace in the spaces trodden with terror and sadness.
What is uncertain in your life?
In what ways are you desperate?
Nothing, NOTHING, can separate you from the sweet, powerful and certain love of Jesus.
Friends battling uncertainty, Cling to this today.
Veronica Wright says
Oh Kate, on a day when I’m struggling to catch my breath and the grief threatens to overwhelm,I needed these words.
Rose Berkey says
All praise be to the Lord