Thursday, May 29, 2014

When You Just Can't Fix It

Hey Friend,

When my children were little and they got hurt, I could scoop them up in my arms, comfort their crying with a hug, put a band aid on the scrape, kiss it and it would be all better.  I could remove them from danger by putting them in their crib or holding them securely on my lap or taking hold of their hand.

But what happens when they get older and you just can't fix it?  Little people problems grow into big people problems, yet we are still parents who love and care for our children.

I watched a mother I knew in church while we were singing worship songs.  Her shoulders were heaving up and down and she continued to wipe tears from her eyes.  Her son, who had battled with depression, went to a party and had a toxic cocktail of pills and alcohol and decided to end his life by jumping from a bridge over some railroad tracks.

Their family went on a fabulous ski vacation.  The daughter asked if she could join some other teenagers down at the pool for a little while since her parents were getting ready to turn in for the evening.  Hanging out at the pool, led to a party in someone's room, led to the daughter getting drunk and having sex with someone she had barely met, which led to a pregnancy and an abortion that devastated the family.

A young male youth group leader was approached on the internet by a student in his group who was obviously dealing with many issues.  Innocent talking and encouragement led to him asking her what he could do to help her the most.  Her reply was, "Would you have sex with me?"  He remembers his head saying no, but in a moment of pure temptation, his fingers typed, "Yes."  She was not yet 16. Even though nothing happened,  her parents found out and pressed charges and now he is serving time in prison.

Their family sat shocked when the doctor announced that the brain tumor was inoperable.  They could give him more time with radiation and chemotherapy, but inevitably he was going to die...still in his young twenties.

Add in the many, many parents of prodigals who pray earnestly for God to replace their child's heart of stone with a heart of flesh and you have so many situations that you simply can't fix anymore. I wish these were fictional stories, but unfortunately they are real.  So what now?

The prayers of these parents are the ones described in Romans 8:26-27:  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

Sometimes we can't even put words to our prayers; they are guttural, desperate groans.  When we are so hurt that we can't even pray, the Spirit carries the cries of our heart to the Father through groans that only the Father can understand.  Sometimes we can only call on the name of our Savior, "Jesus".  By simply crying out His name, there is power.  The enemy must flee at the sound of Jesus' name.

"If our God is for us who can be against us?"  (Romans 8:31)

"Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for our Lord your God goes with you; and He will never leave nor forsake you."  (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Our Lord answers us when we are in distress.  He draws near to the groaning heart.  This side of Heaven we may never truly understand the  "why" behind these things happening.  In these times of utter weakness we must cling to the fact that God is good; God is Sovereign and God is in control.  Even when the situation tells us the exact opposite, this is where a giant leap of faith is needed.  We either jump into God or we jump away from Him.

God promises us, that in our utter weakness and devastation, He will never leave nor forsake us.  We can claim that as truth.  He feels our pain and He feels our sorrow.  After all He did watch His only son be brutally beaten to within an inch of his life and killed in a tortuous act upon a cross.  He is no stranger to pain.  He answers us and comforts us in our distress.

"No one ever blows it so badly that the Spirit can't still blow in.  And no wind ever blows so hard that it doesn't carry hope, that it doesn't blow in blessing too."  (Ann Voskamp)

Praise God that no situation is so bad (even death) that the Spirit can't still blow in.  And the Spirit brings hope and hope never disappoints.  Blessings can be found in even the worst situation.  God never leaves His people without hope.  He and only He, can bring beauty from ashes if we will let Him.

The pain that you have been feeling cannot compare to the joy that is coming.  (Romans 8:18)

Joy may come in this lifetime...or as I am learning to have a much more eternal perspective, joy may not fully come until we are reunited with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and our loved ones in the life to come.  God promises that our trials on this earth will seem light and momentary when compared with the joy experienced when we are with Him in Heaven.  I cling to this hope because otherwise I can't make sense of the atrocities that happen here on earth. 

Maybe this seems way too trite and simple...but this is how I have learned to cope when I just can't fix it.  I must trust that God is always with me and there must be valleys if I'm going to see the mountains. I have to believe that God is big enough to handle and understand my anger.  I have to believe that God can bring beauty and blessings even from the destruction in our lives.  And, I hold onto the hope and joy that will be mine when I see God face to face.  I truly believe He's going to blow my socks off. 

Meanwhile, we hold on...we press on...we keep on...and we praise Him.

I'll end this post with the lyrics of a song by Matt Redman:

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me
And I can see a light that is coming
for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
but until that day comes
Still I will praise You
Still I will praise You
Dear Friend, know that you are in my prayers if you are going through a time such as these.  If you are not, look around; chances are someone you know is going through a time that can make or break their faith.  When you just can't fix it...fix your eyes upon Jesus and run into His strong and comforting arms.  He longs to hold you.
In His love,

ps. I do not pretend to be a counselor, so if you are in a dark and hurting place, I strongly encourage you to seek competent Christian counseling/grief counseling.