Ding. My phone lit up at 5:45am this morning. One of my favorite people in the world was in a rage. Literal, chemically induced, uncontrollable rage. Anger, aggression flowed out of her in rapid torrents. Out of control, she cried out to God, “Why did you allow this pain in my life!” Flare gun prayer shot straight to heaven, she yearned to hear an answer.
While the world raged on.
Why does this world hurt so bad? Why are we exposed to pain and disappointment? Who is in control of this chaotic, pressure-filled globe we call Earth? Will there ever be relief from our suffering?
Valid questions. Honest yearning. Sought after answers that pierce to the core of every human being.
I have asked these questions. Have wondered when the relief would come. When my life could just be normal. Calm. Quiet.
Recently I was told that I have lived a “movie-worthy life”. An atypical childhood spent at international peace camps, a cameo on the kid’s TV show, Barney, a stint living in Switzerland with young babies, and so on…. On the outside it has been lovely. Exciting. Adventurous. Special.
When you peel back the layers of this unconventional life, you find death. Lots of it. To date I have lost six friends, all to different and tragic means. I lost all of my grandparents years ago, followed by my mom last July. I am no stranger to suffering. An autoimmune diagnosis tried to steal my health a few years ago, and mental illness has inflicted members of my family. Not to mention the normal ups and downs of life. Byproducts of just being a human being living in this fallen, broken world.
I use to ask these questions. Sought them to the heart of my being. And then one day the questions stopped. I had found someone who held the key to all my wavering. Someone who replaced my wondering with belief. Belief in a God who created this world. Belief that He humbled Himself to come in the form of a baby. Belief that He lived a perfect life despite immense pain and suffering. Belief that He died for ME. And for YOU. Because I am not perfect and needed Him to.
Belief that He didn’t stay dead – in His great power was raised to new life conquering death for good. Belief that He sees me, cares for my pain, carries my burdens, and lavishes peace. The only place I know to turn is Jesus. When life crumbles, when the fortified tower falls, when heartache becomes my compassion. He takes it all. Once and for all.
John 16:33 says, “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.”
Hebrews 4:15 reminds us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”
Matthew 11:28-30 encourages us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus knows. He suffered. Wept. Was tempted. Accused. Was hungry. Beaten. Killed. There is nothing we go through today that He doesn’t understand. Nothing that He can’t help carry. Absolutely nothing that His death didn’t conquer.
So come. Come to Jesus. His arms are open wide. I will be there too. Right by your side.