lately the words of Romans 8 have formed a hauntingly beautiful and hopeful refrain, an echo in my sleeping and waking.
in many ways, life continues on, just as it did before. in other ways, i feel that everything is different. home is, well, not the same. family will not be the same. holidays and life and north carolina will all be different. they are all different.
it can be easy to despair in moments such as these. and when you are like me, with a disposition to melancholia, with a tendency toward sadness, built to really feel things and run the gambit with every emotion known to man, it can be easy for me to start believing things that i feel, that are not true.
that nothing will ever be the same with my family.
that my world is broken, and that there’s nothing that can repair it.
that i am alone in all of this.
first, these things are not true. one of Satan’s craftiest tricks to lie to God’s children and fool them into believing things that are un-truths. it was his scheme in the garden. it was his plan in the desert. and even now, in the in-between, i find myself wondering and questioning and asking and wanting so badly to trust in God’s goodness and sovereignty, but also feeling the weight of my hurt and sadness and fear.
in moments like this, it is easy to turn inward into myself, and to believe the lies, and to really feel them. but they aren’t true. even when i feel like things are chaotic, and broken, and sad [and they are], i can’t help but remember the truths of Romans 8, and really the entirety of Scripture.
how do i know that this is not the end? that this world is broken, but that God is in the business of redeeming what has been broken, for his glory? that i am not alone? that he loves me, even in my sadness and brokenness?
through the cross. it is only through the lens of the cross that all of these things begin to make sense and find meaning. where is Christ as i am suffering and saddened by loss, and confused about what’s to come? where is he as i await for the fear to pass? where is he, even now?
when paul says that he resolved to know nothing except Christ crucified, i think he understood it. i think he got that the scope of the cross is what we have to see all of our pain and suffering through. that Christ is present with us, in our sadness. and that we know that he loves us – not because he prevents us from being sad or keeps misfortune from happening – but we know that he loves us because of the cross. because he paid for our sin, and suffered, and died.
today would have been my grandma’s seventieth birthday. i remember when she turned sixty. it doesn’t quite seem that long ago.
today i am sad. i might be sad tomorrow. some days, i might feel alone – but i am not. some days, i might be afraid – but there’s so little to fear knowing that i am in the hands of One who has conquered sin, death, and the grave. some days, i might want to despair – but instead of turning inward, i want to turn outward, to the picture of hope, to the empty tomb, to the reminder that Christ is coming again and will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
and that in the midst of the sadness, i want to turn to the truth each time. that in the midst of my sadness and suffering, Christ was right there – on the cross. that he is there. and here. and present, even now.
“for i consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…he who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?…who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger of the sword? as it is written, ‘for your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. for i am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, no things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (romans 8:18, 31 35-39)