How do you know when you are blind?”…”You don’t…you only know afterward when you can see. The blindness of the disciples does not keep their Christ from coming to them. He does not limit his post-resurrection appearances to those with full confidence in him. He comes to the disappointed, the doubtful, the disconsolate. he comes to those who do not recognize him even when they are walking right beside him. He comes to those who have given up and are headed back home, which makes this whole story a story about the blessedness of brokenness.
[Barbara Brown Taylor, Gospel Medicine]
Oh, how I am tempted to build a wall between myself and Jesus!
I keep thinking that I must be a certain way or do a certain thing to be worthy of His grace and mercy.
The checklists I create are really just a way to make myself feel better about my own helplessness.
And I am so very helpless.
There is no prerequisite to receiving grace.
I am the good shepherd. I am the one who really cares for the sheep. The good shepherd is willing to die to save his sheep. ~Jesus
John 10:11 WE
It is possible to go through life without having to question your faith.
But I’m not sure that is a good thing.
Although I would never, ever have chosen this path, child loss has forced me to entertain questions I might have ignored and to dig deeper than I might otherwise have done if life had been easier and less challenging.
My faith is not blind faith.
My faith is not unchallenged faith.
I am facing the fact that terrible things happen even to those who love and trust God. I will not parrot empty phrases that promise smooth sailing to new converts if they will “only turn their lives over to Jesus”.
I don’t even know where we get that idea. Every single disciple was martyred except John and he was boiled in oil and exiled to the Isle of Patmos.
There are faithful believers starving TODAY, dying TODAY and suffering TODAY.
Why should I be exempt?
‘No heart is as whole as a broken heart.’ And I paraphrase it differently: No faith is as pure as a wounded faith because it is faith with an open eye. I know all the elements of the situation; I know all the reasons why I shouldn’t have faith. I have better arguments against faith than for faith. Sure, it’s a choice. And I choose faith.
I wrote this post Thankful But Broken, in November, 2015-just barely 18 months after Dominic ran ahead to heaven.
If that’s how I felt THEN, it’s even more how I feel NOW.
Both the thankfulness and brokenness have burrowed deeper into my bones.
Losing the earthly companionship of a child I love has shattered my heart into so many fragments that I can’t find them, much less piece them back together.
But it has also made me oh, so aware of each day’s blessings and of each moment’s sacred holiness.
I can receive more freely because so much has been stolen. I appreciate what I have because I know what it is to long for what can never be again. I can both hold onto and let go of people and things and trust that in the end all shall be well. Because I know exactly what it feels like when all is most certainly NOT well.
The cracks in my heart make room for more love, more joy (muted though it is) and more thanksgiving than my whole heart could have ever held.
I am truly thankful. AND truly broken.
So my November exercise is to embrace BOTH.
My ‘Thankfulness Journal” has two lines for each day: “I am thankful for” and “I am broken over”. Like the Psalmist, I choose to breathe out my brokenness in lament and breathe in the promises of God in gratitude.
I am sad and shattered that this life is hard.
I am encouraged and comforted that God is good.
I can admit both and still be faith-filled.