Some of us watched images of TRAGEDY flicker on a screen before us this September as destructive hurricanes tore through the islands of the Caribbean and the southeast states of the United States.
Some of us lived it.
This post is for you who are living it. You – whose homes were swallowed alive in the deluge of water and wind.
I have two small gifts from my heart to yours. I pray you find in each the One who mends shredded souls and gives a glimmer of hope on the darkest night.
One is a gift from Brennan Manning, tucked away in his book, Abba’s Child.
When tragedy makes its unwelcome
appearance and we are deaf to everything
but the shriek of our own agony—when
courage flies out the window and the world
seems to be a hostile, menacing place—it is
the hour of our Gethsemane. No word,
however sincere, offers any comfort or
consolation… and yet it may happen in
these most desperate trials of our human
existence that beyond any rational
explanation, we may feel a nail-scarred
hand clutching ours.
Number two is a prayer. It was my prayer. It is my prayer, when I can’t go on.
I WILL trust You.
This 4-word prayer was my constant and only prayer in my darkest days – when to breathe felt almost impossible. Years later, when tragedy struck again, I came to realize the beauty and power of each word.
Me. Unmoved by others’ feelings, actions, or responses, this prayer begins with me, the only one, the only thing I can control. Those around me may join me in this prayer. They may reject it. They may scoff, rejoice, or encourage, but this is my prayer to pray. It starts in a desperate heart.
The word will denotes choice. This short prayer, this declarative cry, is a daily choice made hour by hour, moment by moment. When Tim and I learned that our 3rd child would be born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, the shock and ache were consuming. A few weeks later into this journey, we received an envelope filled with homemade cards from a group of 2nd grade Sunday School children. One card was a game changer. It came from a little girl named Lacey (who we did not know). It read, “I prayed for you in chirch today. You don’t have to be afrade.”
You don’t have to be afraid.
I can be afraid if I want to, but I don’t have to be.
The choice is mine.
PS. It’s OK if I am. Jesus meets me right where I’m at – every time.
During the fiercest days of my life, a season when one child was in Hospice Care and another was in a children’s hospital 3 hours from our home (for 7 weeks), our house flooded, and my dad was dying, I wore the same shirt every day. I really did. Written across the front it said, TRUST. Wearing that shirt was my daily declaration of the only thing that got me out of bed: trusting that Jesus would get me through every raw and rugged hour of the day before me.
I could have prayed, “I will trust Jesus.” Seasons like this kind, for me, can’t be third person. I had to go toe-to-toe with God every hour, often with a cascade of tears dripping from my face. I would have never made it through if I had only talked about Jesus. I had to talk to Him. Only a face-to-face and heart-to-heart would do.
Two tiny gifts.
One big God.
No matter what kind of hurricane tore through your home . . . and heart.
This post is part one of a three-part series:
Finding Rest When Compassion Fatigue Looms Large
Loving the Wounded from Far Away