Stability in the Midst of Heartache
While reading the last chapter of a novel recently, satisfaction filled every fiber of my being as the author’s final words crescendoed to a harmonious end. Tenderly I turned the last page and sat still for a few moments. I like good endings. They make me feel complete. They bring a sense of calm and closure in a world that is unreliable and crazy.
Honestly, I don’t know why I enjoy good endings so much. Maybe it’s because so much of my life has been untraditional, that within a “satisfying” ending my heart is able to find a sense of the resolve it has always longed for. Maybe it’s because I am NOT the author of my life and I don’t know the curve balls that will be thrown at me within the other chapters that have yet to be revealed. Or maybe it’s because I enjoy the experience of closures since most of my life and story doesn’t have a closing.
This lack of closure can be seen in painful goodbyes that forebodingly whisper forever. The faint outline of what was and now isn’t. The unknown that looms into the future creating a hemorrhage of fear that overtakes one’s being. The grief I expect versus the joy that I could embrace. The chronic pain that continues and never lessens.
In the midst of a world where I can’t create my own endings or even fathom the experiences that might come in the next five minutes, year, or lifetime, I have been having to learn to trust the goodness of the One who lovingly created me. I am having to learn that it’s my job to simply be faithful. I am having to learn that it’s only my job to murmur “yes” and take baby steps towards His voice.
Then to add another layer, as I understand more about myself, I am realizing that my desire for closure is intimately related to my longings to be in control over my life.
But… I am not in control and will never be in control.
For instance, I could not stop the split second it took for the large pickup truck to barrel into my car and the agonizing years that have followed, dealing with injuries that this one mistake has caused. Even now, I remain vulnerable at the mercy of doctors making decisions in an effort to try to help me. I feel out of control. I feel angry. I feel so much unrest deep in my spirit. I am still struggling. I don’t know the ending of this part of my story.
I don’t know how we will have a family. Each month comes and goes. Tears have flooded more negative pregnancy tests than I can count and I have given up the possibility that we will get pregnant. I don’t want to be shattered again. I dream of the day that we can grow our family. But today, the hope that this miracle will take form in my body is non-existent.
Tears flow freely. I don’t know how God will redeem the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25-27), because even though I am not in control of my life, desperately I try to preside over everything that I possibly can.
Yet, God has been whispering to my heart that a picture of trust is the ability to loosen my grip on things I try to control and release to Him ALL areas of my life.
Here a sense of calm envelopes around me. Trusting Him fully means that I have to not only trust him with the pain, lack of closure, and my desire to be in control, it means that even though I might not get the endings I so deeply long for He is still good. The goodness of God is not defined by the lack of pain and suffering, rather it is the stability of God’s character in the midst of the hardships we face.
““So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.”
— Jessa Dillow Crisp