The child’s toy was broken…and there were tears.
The bone was fractured, ending an athletic moment…and there were tears.
The car careened off the road and was demolished…and there were tears.
The rains came, the flood waters rose, and all that was “life as they knew it” was underwater until it was not…and there were tears.
The relationship was broken, trust shattered, hope tenuous…and there were tears.
The medical tests revealed a broken body…and there were tears.
The baby longed for has not come to be…and there were tears.
In this fallen world, there are thorns. We are incapable of “fixing” many things we would like to make new or return and “re-do.”
It reminds us that we are but dust. That is said not with a sigh of resignation; rather, as a reminder that, while we think we can control our lives and destinies, doing our own thing again and again; or while we think we have been “good” enough to not experience pain, we are living between the now and the not yet.
We are created in the image of God; yes, we are created and are not the Creator.
Tears fall and life is often hard.
But we can lean even harder on the One who is able and, when our strength is such that we can hardly even lean in, He will carry us.
“(The Lord God) tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.” (Isaiah 40:11)
It may be an “It is what it is” situation, but our response can, by God’s grace, be an “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24) reply.
The pain may be fully evident.
The brokenness may be seen or simply known.
The “what is to come” may be unknown.
But we can hold to the One who sees, who knows, and who will make known in His time.
And, we can say with Sarah, “You are the God who sees me…” (Genesis 16:13), my El Roi!
For the broken body, He may heal in the present or He may have a purpose we either can’t see or must wait to see; but always He is seeking to draw those hurting into His presence and provide a clearer view, not necessarily of the circumstances, but of El Shaddai, God Almighty, our Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals both the body and the soul though sometimes not fully until eternity; always He is our Shalom, our peace.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
For the broken relationship, it is His purpose that light shine into the dark places not to destroy but to reveal His path of redemption, to bring repentance and restoration, for broken trust to be reestablished and a deeper oneness to be formed; or He may reveal to protect one from a walk down a harder path.
But, always, He will draw those involved deeper into Himself – for His child a return to the truth or, for the unredeemed, the offer of new life.
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” (Luke 8:17)
“And now I rejoice, not because you were made sorrowful (or were grieved), but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you felt the sorrow that God had intended, and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
And, in the midst of the thorns, David reminds us to tell ourselves of what is true about us and what is true about our God:
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust…But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him…” Psalm 103:13-14,17
That’s not a devastating thing; it is a tender thing for He knows our frame. He knows all there is to know about us, more than we even know ourselves and He is mighty to save and bring in the new.
He knows our weaknesses, but He doesn’t leave us to make them our identity or claim them as the burden we must bear or the sin we get to coddle, knowing that to do so destroys us and others.
He knows our frailties and He weeps with us even as He comforts us. He is not blind to our sorrows; no, He has “…kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” (Psalm 56:8)
So, we can say with David, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust, I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 56:3-4)
He knows the wounds we have from others and He gives us the ability to forgive, even if need be, minute to minute, one day at a time.
He knows when our worlds have turned upside down and will provide for His children; He may extend our bounty following a material loss or give us just what we need; either way, it is for us to see His provision and give Him praise as our God Who provides, our Jehovah-jireh!
All this life is intended to give Him praise!
The joy and the sorrow.
The healthy and the broken body.
The steady and the wounded relationship.
The abundance and the lack of material wealth and goods.
All come from the hand of the one true God, who is making all things new!
“Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable.
The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
My mouth will declare the praise of the LORD; let every creature bless His holy name forever and ever.”
Psalm 145:3, 18, 21
Weeping with those who weep yet resting in Him amidst the thorns,