Father, the enemy is merciless, hateful, and shrewdly wise, and he would have You blamed. But I will worship You. I know that there is no coincidence in my life - You have chosen it all. You have weighed and measured every hurt, every joy. You have decided what to allow and what to deny. You have allowed me to cry and rage and even blame You. But I will believe that Your purpose is not my harm. It is hard to keep that thought straight in my head just now. But Jesus cried alone in that garden, and He knows how hearts wrench and souls writhe, and He knows what it is to wish for another way. And it must be that some of this awfulness is just - necessary, since even He was not able to escape it. Like the Baptist in prison, I am overcome with fear that this has been for nothing, but without You, what is my life? I will hold fast to You, when fear howls and the darkness crawls.
God, I have not hid my heart from You. You know all about my smallness and the bitterness that rises and suffuses the best of me. You know my struggling and scrabbling after lesser things, and You know that beneath those is a real longing to please You. If You choose, You can give me joy in seeking and finding You. You can give me eyes to see things as You see them, to value things as You value them. I once had the sense of things, all in their right place, and I don't know what has made me blind, but everything's a circus in my head now. You can put me back together. You can make me sure again. You can give me hope and peace, even if you don't change my circumstances. You can restore my sense of purpose and give me joy in laying myself down. But if You don't, I will worship You. I will offer You the warped and broken me. I will give You thanks when I can't feel thankful. I will come before You with my tears when I have no song to sing. You are the Beginning and the End. You are worthy.
While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. (Hebrews 5:7,8)Jesus learned obedience. He did not learn - as we do - to obey. A perfect son could only obey a perfect father. He learned what it feels like to obey - the cut of it and the cost of it. Sometimes I wonder why there is so much struggle in me even when I have chosen to obey. But like Jesus, even we who have learned to obey must learn the cost of obedience in this broken world - how it can cut us in pieces and make us hopeless and blind to glory; how it can rob us of joy and purpose and hide from us the kindness of our Father. It is not easy to obey, not even for a son.
God heard, but he did not answer the prayers and pleadings even of his son - that One in whom he was "well pleased". He did not rescue him from death. He made him a sacrifice. Sometimes there is no escaping the breaking, the horror.
Yet I believe there is beauty in love and peace in hope, and I believe these overcome when time grows full. We are tricked into believing that what is right now is all there is, and time moves slow, and we want to evaluate it all in a snapshot. There are things that are, just not right now. There is light that outshines the dark. There is love that delights in its own hurt. There is peace that transcends raging storms. There is courage that stands up and fights the giant fear. There is glory that subsumes even ugliness and awkwardness. There is beauty that transforms horror. There is joy that rises in sorrow. There is hope that is not overwhelmed by great gaps, by emptiness. These are beyond my grasp just now, but they must come. The God of Love wounds, but he heals. He will give light, love, peace, courage, glory, beauty, joy, hope.
...until the day dawn and the Morning Star arise in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19)