My son and husband are gone this week on a field trip to Washington D.C. Although my husband travels frequently on business I really, really miss him this week. As I was thinking about how much I missed him Monday I began thinking about a woman I know whose husband passed away last year. She and her family are heavy on my heart whenever I think of them, but this week especially I have been thinking a lot about her. I miss my husband but he is coming home Friday. I cannot even begin to imagine the depth of hurt, loss and pain my friend is going through. And so I pray. And I pray. And I pray. But if I’m honest, that just hasn’t been cutting it this time.
I have tried to pray what I teach to women to do when they are in hard and painful places. Filter hurt and difficulty through the promises and truths of the Bible. I have been trying to pray verses like Romans 8:26 that say that Jesus will intercede for us to the Father when we don’t know what to pray. I mean, how do I pray for my friend in a way that will matter? What do I pray when I can’t imagine how painful and empty and broken she must be? My heart literally aches when I think of this woman and her children and I want to do something to make her hurt stop, but I can’t and no one can, not her parents, siblings or best friends. I keep trying to pray believing that God will work all things out for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). But if I’m honest that verse seems incredibly cruel to even think let alone say to someone who is suffering the kind of loss this woman is.
I realize faith is believing the opposite of what we feel, see or believe in our hearts, but I have been wrestling with God about all of this and I don’t like any of it (I know, shocker). I don’t like that my friend had to lose her husband. I don’t like that her children are going through such pain. I don’t like that it all seems so unfair. I don’t like that God’s Word is supposed to be enough and supposed to help us in the middle of something like this but sometimes it doesn’t seem to. I don’t like it and once again I wish it would look differently. Once again, I would have changed the ending (and the beginning and the middle).
But once again, I am not God. Once again, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what I want, think or would change. Once again, back in reality we are still in reality. My friend still doesn’t have her husband, her children don’t have their dad and all of it really rots. But here is what I have concluded. Faith is all any of us have and like it or not, agree with it or not, it is at least something. It is at least hope. Hope that someday and somehow my friend will have joy again. Hope that her ache will subside even a little bit someday and then hopefully a little more and a little more. Faith gives us, if nothing else, hope and frankly I haven’t found anything better in lieu of the fact that we still live in reality. In the midst of pain and suffering and loss that we cannot change, faith and hope at least give us something to hold onto. And if we don’t have something to hold onto we will fall down and lay there indefinitely. And if there is something I don’t wrestle with God about, it is that Christ did not come and suffer and die on that cross for us to live life flat on our backs without any hope. No one would send their Son to die for that ending.
“Dear God, thank you for hope. Thank you that faith is knowing your Word and trusting it to be true even when it doesn’t seem to be or maybe doesn’t even seem to matter. Help us all to trust your Word to be true when it most seems impossible, because if we don’t have hope in this messed up life then Lord help us all. Thank you that once again it doesn’t matter what I think or would change, but thank you that you are in charge and Your heart aches more for my friend than mine ever could. God, please wrap your arms around my friend and help her to FEEL and KNOW and TRUST that you will be her comfort, her safety and somehow even her joy until her hope becomes her new reality. In Your Name, Amen.”