My news feed today was one piece of crushing news after another. While some news was shallow (traffic), I saw multiple posts from friends and friends of friends regarding losing babies. Infants. Kids close to M’s age.
And my heart broke.
There are few things more sobering than death. I wish I could say I sat here singing, “O death, where is your victory; where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55), when I read the different stories.
But I’m not.
Though I know it is true, it doesn’t feel true. It feels crushing, hopeless, worthy of despair.
And to an extent, it should. The world we live in is broken and in need of a Savior. Life is hard. Death stings.
At this point, though, I have two options: callous my heart or fight for hope.
Option 1: Callous my heart.
I shift my attention to my current show on Netflix, focus on my fitness goals, and look up some funny memes in an attempt to distract my saddened heart. It is easier–so much easier–to divert my attention to something happier and not give thought to the broken-heartedness of the situation.
However, callousing my heart is essentially building a wall that inhibits vulnerability: with God, with Chad, with friends, and with others. Unfortunately hearts can’t be compartmentalized efficiently, and you can’t callous just one portion of it without affecting the whole thing. I know this from experience.
Result of Option 1: Make life a little bit more shallow (which seems OK until you’ve experienced the depths of how full life can be otherwise). This leads me to…
Option 2: Fight for hope.
I bring my broken heart to Jesus. I confess that I don’t believe that he is working all things together for good (Romans 8:28) and that one day, he’s going to tear open the sky and make all things new; that he’s going to be with us forever and make it so tears and sorrow are no more (Revelation 21:3-4). On occasion, I also write as I convince myself to fight.
Unbelief always precedes belief, and until I admit that I don’t believe, God doesn’t have much to work with. (Self-sufficient, can-do attitudes don’t work so well with grace.) Thankfully, God is a good Father who is faithful and cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). He gives his children his peace AND his presence (Philippians 4:5-9) as we bring him our troubles in unbelief.
Result of Option 2: A deeper relationship with God, which can also result in deeper relationships with others.
I don’t always choose Option 2, but I never regret when I do. In the while it’s taken for me to process through this in writing (it’s kind of like a more thought-through version of prayer), God has been gracious to grant me his peace and his presence. And I’m reminded of what I’ve been reading in 1 Peter:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
– 1 Peter 1:3-7 ESV, emphasis mine
So, friends, when darkness shows its ugly face, I urge you to fight.