NOTE: Restoration Heart has been on an extended "vacation" due to neglect and the tyranny of the urgent! I'm back....................... !
There are many "endings" in life and it seems their "tribe" increases:
- Too little money and too many bills
- Loss of a job
- Loss of a home
- Lies, deceit, slander from "friends"
- Rejection by family and significant others
- Reaching the threshold of heaven personally or with a loved one
- Foolish choices and their consequences
- Growing old(er)
- Disease and disability
- Taxes and the IRS
- Too much to do and too little time
- Unrelenting pain of all kinds
- Fear of the future
- Dillusion with government and alarming changes in society
All these circumstances and heart-breaking "milestones" happen and more beside! It may even seem like the end! You may wish for the end!
In the last two weeks, we reached "the end" with our beloved Susie. Susie was our black lab - 13 years old - and one of the greatest gifts we ever received! We never expected her to leave us so quickly and so suddenly. Exactly two weeks ago today our wonderful vet told us that "nothing matters any more." We went to the appoointment with a list of food and snacks wanting counsel on changes we should make or not. We left knowing it wasn't going to matter. Dr. Jim grabbed John's and my hands as we turned to leave the exam room with Susie. He prayed with us thanking the Lord for our wonderful Susie. She was sick beyond healing! No food or care was going to change her plight. Dr. Jim couldn't even hear her heart beat due to all the fluid that was in her chest and belly.
On a scale of 1 to 10 expecially up against the list above, losing our sweet Susie seems way down the list. BUT when our hearts are involved in the pain and loss we experience, the loss - the "ending" - the depth of the pain is HUGE!
Last night I watched a video - "When Disability Hits Home" - which features interviews with Chuck Colson and R.C. Sproul. Each man opens his heart about how his own pain over his seriously disabled grandchild "crashes" into his theology of the sovereignty of God and the ways of God. In the video Joni Eareckson Tada helps tell their stories as well as being living evidence of her own loss and pain. Joni, Chuck and R.C. all affirm their confidence in God!
Most people in our world would consider such devastating circumstances and heart pain clear evidence that God is absent and not benevolent or benign! NOT TRUE!
The truth is that no matter now final the end seems - no matter how pain may drive us to wish this is the end - It is NOT THE END! God is still God! God is still on His throne! God did walk into our world and put on our skin and live in our neighborhood in the Person of Jesus! (John 1:14, The Message)
The end hasn't come. It may be just around the next curve or miles down the road. That doesn't matter! For those who know and love Jesus the end is not the end anyway. It is the beginning of restoration of all that is painful and broken!
Jesus came to meet people - all kinds of people at his or her point of need. He acted to comfort the broken! He didn't just pat them on the head or shoulder and wish them well. He knelt to wash dirty feet. His healing hand touched blind eyes, mute tongues, crippled feet and hands and broken minds.
My heart prayer for you today is that God will reach into your brokenness - that brokenness that seems so final - and bring you restoration. Your brokenness and pain may seem beyond repair or escape. Hang on to Jesus! He WILL take care of you! He still kneels to wash dirty feet and touch blind eyes! Your broken heart matters to Him! Remember this isn't the end when it's the beginning of restoration. That's something ONLY God can do!