Remember scratching your initials into the wet concrete of new sidewalks or house foundations? That’s what trauma does to our souls. Some things we just never “get over.” Never “heal.” They change us forever.
You know if you lost your precious child.
Or your innocence.
Or your hope.
Some things are set in concrete.
What do we do with pain like that? Even past the “WHY?” and the “Are you THERE, God?” we are crushed by the void. Life never the same as it was. Never what we hoped it would be.
Think of the Lord’s own mother, the joy when the angel Gabriel announced she would bear God’s own son…then in the Temple with her infant, when Simon knew her beloved baby was the Messiah? Joy beyond imagining.
Then 33 years later, the stunned horror watching Him carry His cross on his bloody back to His own death. Weeping at the foot of His cross. Her life never the same. The Bible says she lived “many years” and traveled with His disciples. So she knew. Knew what it was like to live on anyway.
And her cousin Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, thrilled to be carrying a baby when she thought her chance was gone with age. Beyond joyful when Mary visited, carrying the Lord in her womb, and her own child leapt in HER womb in His presence!
Where was she when, many years later, his head was served to Herodias on a silver platter? Broken. All hope dashed.
What IS there for a void like that? No more joyful youthful hope.
Mary Magdalene knew. Jesus cast seven demons from her, removed her from her life as a “fallen” woman, made her a holy one. A follower, mentioned twelve times at least in the Bible, more than some of the apostles. She knew. She washed His feet and dried them with her own hair, anointed them with expensive perfumed oil, gave Him everything she had, followed Him the rest of her days. Was the first to find Him risen at the tomb that first Easter morning.
Job knew. Lost it ALL. ALL his children. ALL his possessions. Sat on the heap of ashes while his friends made him wonder if it was all his fault. Mourning, weeping, in an agony of suffering, he answered them in faith:
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Job 1:21)
Then, when he answered in faith, trusted God with his very life, the Lord restored his treasures, gave him more children. Turned it all to good. Like it was? No. But holy beyond the pain.
All of these women and men, many more unnamed, recovered an unspeakable holiness as they went on to serve in spite of the horrors and losses of their lives. Walked on to build the “Kingdom” Jesus came for in the first place. Found the “why” in the holy journey. Like He said in the first place: “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” (I Corinthians 10:24) Cuz SOME things ain’t NOTHIN else gonna cure.
The world only offers “therapy” to heal wounds like that. The comfort of friends and fellow mourners might be an occasional mercy. But never the same again. We know that.
Different. Changed. Struck down. Like the broken clay pot of scripture fame. Fashioned by the Lord who watched as our hopes were dashed. Then broken into a million jagged pieces.
There IS no cure for that kind of pain. No. Nothing that will make us like we were before.
But there is the unspeakable hope of seeing them again, the one we lost. The trembling curiosity “what will they be like?” The daring hope: “What are they doing now? What is it like there?” We chew the words of Jesus promise: “I go to prepare a place for you.” And a glimmer of light. Find a new joy in the known innocence of a child we lost too young to find anything but glory there, never sullied by mistakes or bad choices. Develop a new patient hope for the day we will be made holy and be with them again.
And the Lord Himself sweeps up the splintered pieces, lets us dare to hope again. Shows us ways to take the pain and let His light shine to others through our jagged broken wounds. Shows us it is HIS light that goes in now. Not the fake Vegas light we fell for before. Not the empty promises of the things we sought before. A different light now. His light.
2 Corinthians 4.6-7: “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
SOME OF US JUST WEREN’T MADE FOR THIS WORLD. We fan the flames that light the glimpse of that OTHER world. Determined now to share that light with as many as we can, tell them about the real glory. The prepared place that Perfect Love fashions from our soul’s hard journey here.
We join these holy ones. Know their pain, their loss, their despair. Then we know HOLY when we see it. Know Holy when we do it. Know to cling to the source of all Holy. Begin to sense the “why” and start to walk in the “how.” Find a new kind of joy, clinging to Him like the Magdalene, following Him the rest of our lives, giving Him everything we have. Knowing He keeps it safe…and holy…with the treasure we have lost.