One of the magical aspects of sunflowers is how they move through the day to always face the sun.
Like other plants, they depend on light to make their food but unlike others, they seem intent on thanking the source.
I am always encouraged when I pass a patch of sunflowers standing stalwart, saluting in unison the life-giving rays. They remind me that I am just as dependent as they are.
I can’t draw breath without the light and life of Christ in me.
But I forget that sometimes.
Clouds of sadness and despair obscure my vision and I’m tempted to turn away. Life gets hard and I wonder why it has to be like that. Responsibility grows heavy and I can’t lift my head.
So I lose sight of the Son-who He is, what He’s done and how He continues to sustain me even when I can neither see it or feel it.
It’s just then I need to turn toward Him.
It’s that very moment I require extra grace to look up (which He supplies) and extra faith (which He endows) to see clearly.
When I do, He always renews my strength.
“Don’t you know? Haven’t you been listening? Yahweh is the one and only everlasting God, the Creator of all you can see and imagine! He never gets weary or worn out. His intelligence is unlimited; he is never puzzled over what to do! He empowers the feeble and infuses the powerless with increasing strength. Even young people faint and get exhausted; athletic ones may stumble and fall. But those who wait for Yahweh’s grace will experience divine strength. They will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles, run their race without growing weary, and walk through life without giving up.”
My journals are filled with strong words and strong feelings.
They are also filled with, what I believe, God spoke to my heart in response.
Sometimes it was in the form of a Bible verse, sometimes a memory, sometimes song lyrics or a prayer. And sometimes the pages are simply a record of how my Shepherd gently led me through a particular hard moment or day or week.
So if you are struggling with doubt-let yourself off the hook.
To deny the presence of pain is to diminish the power of the cross.
Dying, Jesus honored His mother’s courage by acknowledging her pain. She was losing the Son she loved and it hurt in a way that only mothers can comprehend. He didn’t tell her that it would “be alright” or that “the ending is ultimately victorious”.
Instead, He looked upon her trembling figure and saw her broken heart.
It will soon be seven years since Dominic stepped into Heaven.
It’s really hard to write that and harder still to live it.
In those years I’ve spent a great deal of time dragging out what I thought I knew about God, about how He works in the world, about how we take Scripture and wrap it around preconceived notions to make us feel safer and more in control.
I’ve had bad days and better days. Days of doubt and days of faith.
But every day I’ve felt assured of this truth: Even when my grip on Jesus is slipping, He holds me fast.
I’ve mentioned it before.
I’ve encouraged others not to resist.
But I want to be absolutely clear: Losing my son made me doubt EVERYTHING.