How we love the expected, the knowns. Like charting a trip, we set life course and follow our route, hoping for no detours, delays, or stops. But real life isn’t like that. When the unexpected strikes like lightening in places heart-close, comfortable can turn anxious as we find ourselves on quaking ground. And quaking ground shakes everything around.
What happens when hopes crash and break into a thousand unrecognizable slivers of loss? When our maps are torn so unreadable and our way seems thoroughly blocked, how do we find our bearings and chart a new course?
Do we rely on our will, our intellect, our money, our family, our friends, our fill-in-the-blank when the unexpected visits and leaves unordered, unwanted packages of grief? What if all is stripped bare and we’re left raw with just us? And no one, nothing else, completely comforts or fills or guides? What then?
Then we come to the grace place, the holy space, where God works miracles of transfiguration in our souls.
I know the grace place. So do my closest friends. And we have carried each other there in prayer when legs of the grieving could no longer walk. And we lay each other gently down at the feet of the One who heals pain unspeakable.
Last weekend, one of my dearest friends and her husband buried their daughter. Cancer stole her life at 43. Death ripped her away from the arms of her parents, her husband, her two darling young girls, her many friends.
Such loss is heavy tangible. Broken hearts beat hard as invisible anvils press and the hammer of reality comes down. She’s gone. No more phone calls. No more visits. No more smiles to see, laughs to hear, arms to embrace. Just memories now.
Especially in great loss such as this, we enter God’s grace hushed. We come with nothing. We are empty. And we are humbled. We know we can’t go it alone. We know we need more than this world can offer.
We are ready to meet our Maker, here on earth. Here, where other lives move as ours grinds to a halt. Here, where tears don’t stop and nights are so very long and mornings bring grief fresh.
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
God mingles with the poorest of us. He meets us in His grace place where it’s just Him and us, alone. And we can cry. We can scream. We can wrestle with our Maker as long as we need, knowing He has hold on us well, and He won’t let go even when we fear such powerful grief could break our fingers clinging the ledge over annihilating abyss. God is stronger.
Grace. That’s what we need. And that’s what God gives without measure.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
And out of such loss, such profound grief—such a divine touch of grace—comes a mysterious freedom unlike anything ever experienced before. When we come to the absolute end of ourselves, we die and we’re born. We die to illusions of control. We die to unknown illusions of being God. We are born into an awareness of our smallness, our weakness. But it’s nice. And somehow, mysteriously, we find comfort in knowing we’re in the steady, competent, all-loving hands of the One who created all in love, for love. We can relax and let go.
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit give rest unmatched, hope unmatched.
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One . . . Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. . . . those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 41:25-31
My dear friends, the day your hearts broke, on a lake in northern Wisconsin, I saw four eagles soaring. I continue to carry you in prayer to the place of God’s grace where you are in the best hands. And you WILL soar again.