Thanksgiving When It Hurts

Still birth, miscarriage after years of infertility, the early delivery and then loss of triplets.  These are the emails I received this week of Thanksgiving.  My heart is shattered.  Who can put me back together again?
Then there were the phone calls of desperation, of broken marriages and broken dreams, suffocating pain and lingering ghosts.  So many hearts overloaded with sorrow.  So many lives severed by the little deaths we suffer as citizens of earth. 
And I feel it all so thoroughly and deeply. Yes, I am shattered.  Who can put me back together again?
I run for the cross.  I run to the only place I have ever found peace and power.  In a heap, in a ball at His feet I cry for them.  I weep for their wounds.  I ache with unrestrained emotion for these who reach out to me.  And as I bow with empathy here at the cross, I remember the path I had to travel to get here myself…
And I wonder…
Have you ever hurled anger at the sky?  Have you ever screamed insult and accusation into the heavens?  Do you wonder how a God so good could possibly allow your pain, your misery?
I ‘ve been there.  I’ve done that- this angry and honest hurling and wrestling- fighting through guilt, grief and gut-wrenching fury at God.  That was my path until I finally came to a wall, an end.  And that end was the beginning.
I stared up into the marred, blood streaked face of the man who took brutality and murder so that my story could become embedded in His. Pain for love.  Death for Resurrection. Hell for Heaven. 
  
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, But take heart because I have overcome the world!” John 16:33
Can you hear the compassion in Jesus’ words?  Can you hear His urgency and yet His certainty?  It’s an answer.  He wanted us to know that this world would be infested with trouble- the death of babies, infertility, abuse, cancer, broken relationships and sin. But “take heart” He proclaims.  Have courage, be comforted and confident. I HAVE OVERCOME!  I am the answer!  I am the resurrection and the life and whoever believes in me shall live! (John 11:25)

This is what I need as I kneel at the cross today.  This is what I need as I wade through the river of tears flowing from the hearts of the broken today. He has overcome and therefore life after death is available to the wounded, the grieving, the deceived, the angry,the ill, the lonely, the rejected, the miserable and despicable. Abundant life, even in the darkest night, is available to us all.  The death and resurrection of Jesus bought us that miracle and if you call on His name, it can happen to you again and again and again.  

Today as I ache with you who ache, I am taking heart and I am allowing truth to piece me back together and to give me the courage I need to forge ahead with the grace to grieve and the power to be made whole.  I am claiming the empathy and compassion of Jesus because of the cross…and I am claiming His power because the grave could not hold him down! 
On Thursday I will pause to give thanks.  My first words of gratitude will be offered to the God who allowed my baby to die, the God who has invited me into the depths of his heart to deliver me, change me, restore and redeem me. And I will say to Him- thank you for walking out of the tomb and for bringing me with you.  
Friends who come to the table hungry for that which food cannot satisfy, I pray you will feel and know the pursuit of Jesus on your soul today and that you will have the courage to make it to the foot of the cross, to the threshold of the peace and power your fragments long for.  May you be made whole today and have the courage to take heart and utter thanks…even when it hurts.

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