As I’ve mentioned in my Daybook entries, I have been reading lately. It is not always an easy read, but it is a good read. Today my heart is heavy with friends’ news. My eyes welled with tears as these words rent soul:
I grip the card and I know all our days are struggle and warfare (Job 14:14) and that the spirit-to-spirit combat I endlessly wage with Satan is this ferocious thrash for joy. He sneers at all the things that seem to have gone hideously mad in this sin-drunk world, and I gasp to say God is good. The liar defiantly scrawls his graffiti across God’s glory, and I heave to enjoy God…and Satan strangles, and I whiten knuckles to grasp real Truth and fix that beast to the floor. ~Ann Voskamp
When my daddy was sick, and when he died, I wrestled so long, so hard with the goodness of God. Through a sermon my pastor spoke, a hot Sunday morning in August, the parking lot a sea of folding chairs and umbrellas and sweaty tots, I came to see God’s mercy in the apparent evil.
Twice I’d stood in the same pew as John had at the funerals of both of his sons, and I had turned and I had seen for myself, how John stood with the congregation and sang it clear, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Twice John sang his lifelong favorite Scripture before the coffins of his sons. I can still see him brave through each line sung, the tears of faith streaming down his cheeks into his smile. My throat had swelled raw in this sad awe, and I had turned away, drowning in grief waters all my own. The kind of faith I had witnessed in John, that spoke in the dead boy’s home, that kind of faith puts real vertebrae into a verse like Ephesians 5:20: “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (NASB, emphasis added).
This is the hard thanksgiving. In the face of great loss, we grieve. And God, who allowed his own son to be crucified, relates. Understands.
God, who gives and takes away. God, an ever-present help in trouble. God who holds all truth. God, we pray for your grace and peace and thank you for your mercy, especially for those who cannot find the words to pray right now.