There will be mornings in your life when you wake up and it takes you just a few seconds to remember the sorrow that yesterday ( or a bunch of yesterdays) brought into your world; but then you do remember and you really rue the awakening. If only this were last night’s nightmare instead of today’s reality.
There will be evenings when you are hurting all over your body because of the primary pain in your heart…the one that cannot be alleviated or even lessened by any prescription or balm.
You will try to eat your way into feeling better, sleep your way into comfort, or just be totally alone and think or read your way into peace. But peace eludes and sadness envelopes. Tears flow until there are no more tears to fall. The unbeliever wishes for some hope in such an hour, and the Christian wishes for hope fulfilled; sometimes even wishing for the hastening of the trumpet or even the rest of the grave.
No counselor is wise enough, no comforter tender enough, no calendar busy enough and no confidante faithful enough to protect you from the battering ram of grief (or sin or loss or pain) that can destroy, plunder and desert. Nothing makes you forget the hurt for very long. A few seconds…minutes, on the outside…make up the only occasional short respite.
There will be a day like this in your life. What will you do? There’s someone you know who is living that day right now. How is she making it? Survival mode is just that…breathing the next breath without plan for the following one. Survival mode leaves behind attention to detail and pursuit of any luxury or frivolity and focuses on just “making it” through. There’s a lot of numbness that characterizes survival mode. Yet you feel enough to hurt.
A friend of mine was in the middle of one of the most grievous trials that I’d ever seen anyone traverse. I mean this was a bleak path in a black darkness. She had said to me, “I don’t know how I can keep going like this.”
In the middle of one of the deepest abysses of the entire journey, her counselor, at that juncture, said “ You just need to go home and paint your nails and take care of you!”
May I suggest that attention to the outward appearance of the fleshly self is never the answer in the dark times of life. The Psalmist said this in the words of David that I prayed today:
I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil (from Psalm 101).
In the darkest time, I need steadfast love.
I need justice.
I need to be found blameless.
I need integrity of heart.
I need to shun the worthless and to hate the work of those who have fallen away from God.
I need to get far away from a perverse heart and
I need to remove myself, as far as I can, from evil.
To make the list even more succinct, it’s
and righteousness. All are attributes seen clearly in the person of my Lord on the cross, and all fill deep spiritual needs in me. These things are what I need.
It’s about some nails, alright, but not the kind you paint. It’s the nails that held my Lord to the cross and it’s my crucifixion with Him. I’m crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:21). When it feels like you just can’t go on living remember that you live by the faith in the son of God, who has loved you and given himself for you! Ironically, if you carry the burden of the cross, you can carry any other load.