Constant. Steady. Always present.
I’m a visual learner. It’s the image of something tangible that allows me to make sense of the unseen, unknown. That is just how my brain works. Even when I take tests for school, I will close my eyes and see the study guides I spent hours reviewing to pull out the answers I need, a photographic memory. It’s in these photos where I store my memory, my knowledge and my ability to see what is not in front of me.
When I experienced my first miscarriage, it was the thought of not having something tangible of my son that brought me the most fear. I needed something on this earth that I could hold, see, to know he was real and ever present within me. God knew this and made it so. He would have orchestrated a beautiful symphony of events that gave me a box, filled with tangible hope, when I woke up from my surgery. I had an angel ornament that I could keep up year round, a stuffed sheep that I could cling to at night and a journal that would give me the gift of writing and speaking directly to my son. Then there were birds. As I prayed each morning, a bird would fly over me. As I walked into work I would hear the birds chirping all around and gifts to comfort my hurting soul were in the image of birds. It didn’t take long for me to realize what was happening. Once again, God, my Father, my creator, new me better than I even knew myself. He knew I would need something tangible, present, real to hold on to when my faith was falling and my spirit was low. And that’s exactly what I did. I began to see the birds as my angels, the very souls that I loved singing and flying all around me. Their image reminded me not only of my children lost but of the God who loved me. He knew I would face troubles in this world, He even warned me in His word, so He prepared a path. One of grace, love and everlasting peace. (“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33)
It’s been 4 years since I let go of my son, since I had my daughter and had 2 more angels fly off to heaven, but the birds….they are always present.
It is so easy to become overwhelmed by this life. The hurts in this world and the brokenness of humanity. But when we stay close to the one who created us, in worship, His word and prayer, we find His peace. His presence. Living this life is not the reward, it’s the preparation. It’s what gives us the endurance to keep going, the character to stand firm and the hope to know that there is more. (Romans 5:3-5) Our struggles hurt but it is in the struggles that are strength is made strong. It is in the surviving of the tough times where we see exactly what we are made of. God knew this and gave us each other, knowing it was our brothers and sisters that would comfort us, carry us and even pull us out of the trenches of pain. This my friend is you. You are here, on this earth, to comfort. To bring joy into the lives of those you touch. To place hope into the hearts of the hurting. Your pain is not in vain. This pain you are feeling is going to serve you and serve our God, not for His selfish motives but for His glory. What you are facing today will end. You will survive and you will be stronger. In this time, when you feel your footing and you are able to walk, this is when the magic happens. This is when we get to work. When others are brought into your path that face your similar circumstances, you now get to be their source of comfort. Who better to serve them than someone who has survived it? Who better to give them hope than someone who has felt it? You my friend are being prepared. Prepared to do His will on earth as it is in heaven. And the best part? Your reward, the gift of an eternal life in heaven, with our father, where there will be no more tears, no more sorrow. Where I will hold my babies for the first time and dance along the streets of heaven. (“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4)
And if I’m wrong? If this God that teaches me to live a life of love and service for others does not exist? Well I’ll be dead. I won’t know the difference and I presume I will absorb into the earth with the rest of creation.
But if I am right….wow, the wonderful life that has been promised to me and you will be visible, tangible, present. I will be with our Father and reap the rewards of a life well lived. (or at least that’s the plan!)
Friends, regardless of your faith or lack there of….living a life loving one another is never going to do you wrong. Even behind the bars of prison, you will be free.
Omnipresent, our ever present God, is with you even now. He weeps with you, sits alongside you and carries you. He places prompts on your heart to guide you and people to hold you. That partner, friend, child and spouse are not there by accident. They were sent to be a source of earthly comfort until we can be in His arms again. (For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13)
Omniscience, our God who knows all, can not be fooled, tricked. While you may pursue your path along your terms, He will keep pursuing, keep intervening, keep offering you the way to hope. He loves you friend, He waits patiently for your return.
Omnipotent, our God who can do anything, will make this right. He will heal the sick. He will mend your broken heart. He will make all things NEW. The tricky part is that He does this in His time and His way. This isn’t because He is a controlling, micromanaging God, it is because He is the great I AM. He knows what is best for us because only He can see what is to come. And because of His grace and kindness, He will take the brokenness and hurts of this world and use them. To comfort, to serve, to love. (Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17)
I can promise you with every belief in my being that if you stop looking to this world for acceptance and know the amazing, wonderful person you are in His eyes, you will no longer live a life that feels defeated and disappointing but a life that feels blessed and full of opportunity. Paul himself wrote 4 of his 13 letters from prison proclaiming the good news of the gospel and this coming from a man that persecuted believers until God made His presence known to him. While we may not experience burning bushes or angels descending from the clouds, we have His word. He have His promises and He have scientific proof of a real man that walked this earth, proclaiming the good new of God. That lived a life free of sin, performing miracles and healing the sick.
If you are hurting today, struggling with disbelief and clinging to find hope, then ask Him to show you. Pray a prayer quietly to yourself asking God to make His presence known, to show you He is with you and pursuing you. Not only will He make His presence known in only ways you may understand but He will fill you with a sense of peace that can only come from Him. Open your heart to see Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4)
I hope this letter of love serves you well my friend.