The world near and far is grieving right now. I’m grieving too.
I’ve thought long and hard. Early and late into the night about the state of this world and even the state of my own community, my family and my church.
Grief is a part of life. It is not a fun part, but it is a part of it.
This whole summer I spent a fair amount of time learning about savoring things. Moments, little snippets of time. The lesson in all of it seemed to be that savoring and finding gratitude where you are, will bring you peace. But then, big things happen. Bad things happen, and it feels that my soul could be swallowed by the vastness and depravity that seems to be consuming the world.
But, peace… it hasn’t left. Even in the grief. Grief over my own sin wracked body, mind and emotions.
Grief over the war torn world where evil is so loud and shouting and throwing it’s big ol’tantrum.
Grief over the smaller; like my church closing its doors. Deemed not viable. Not living anymore.
Grief over disease that destroys the body of those I love from the inside out.
Grief and sadness… and peace still is here. How?
Peace can still be found in all of this insane sadness. Because I look upon the one who gave it to me.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
This morning I told my little girl that I had an appointment this afternoon and that she would be staying home with her dad. This illicited such a strong reaction of anxiety. As this has been the nature of this girl from birth I wish I could say I was more prepared. But, the truth of it is, it still catches me off guard every time. She clings to me, desperately at times. It is all at once sweet and exhausting.
I didn’t know how to reason with her. I couldn’t reason with her. So, to gather my thoughts I did the only thing I could, I sent her to her room, and I prayed. I didn’t receive the answer to my prayer until I was in the room with her. I saw her sobbing, sprawled over her bed and at once I felt peace and a tremendous amount of love for her broken, fearful soul. I knew her fear because I’ve felt it. That distance and separation from the person that makes me feel safe.
I gathered her up into my arms. I sat and rocked her. And despite her best efforts to carry on, to continue to fight for her voice to be heard, for her to be sure I knew her displeasure at being left and her fear of me leaving. She began to quiet. The whole time I rocked her I was looking at the picture on her dresser. A large print of Jesus gazing into the eyes of a child. The look on his face had such tenderness and such peace. And I know this decidedly Caucasian rendition of Jesus is probably not what Jesus, my Lord and Savior looked like at all, even so, I can’t help but feel the artist was absolutely able to capture that loving gaze. A gaze that He would cast on the smiling child as well as the one who is brokenhearted and afraid, angry, or hurt.
And I whispered into her ear, “Do you see Jesus?”
She sniffed and looked up at me, puzzled. She glanced at the image on her dresser and quickly looked away. I said, “Look at Jesus. What is He doing?”
She looked again for a long time, but did not say anything. I said, “Look at his face. Look at how he looks at that child. Is he angry?”
“No.” she responds. “Look at Jesus, Do you think he loves that child?” I ask.
“Yes.” She says. “Jesus loves you like he loves that child, even when you are sad or angry, or scared he loves you and he sees you. He holds your face in His hands and says he loves you all the time. And you need to know that Jesus loves you more than me.”
Her eyes are wide at this thought for her heart knows my love is infinite.
I go on to tell her that Jesus cares for her sadness, and her worry and no matter what He will love her and watch over her. No matter if I am there or not Jesus is the one who loves her the most.
“Look at Jesus.” I say. “Always look at Jesus.”
I will admit it is hard to say these words. For I want to be the one to love her the most. I want to be her safety, her comfort, her everything. But, I know I can’t. I hope that I will be able to witness every day of her growing up. I hope that God will see fit to continue to bless us with peace and safety. As a mother I hate the thought that harm could ever come to a single hair on any one of their precious heads. And I admit I to praying that God will project them. That they will be safe. That they will always choose the good… But, I also know that it is not in my hands to decide.
People in this world make their choices every day. Some good, to do good. And some bad, to do evil in God’s very sight. Each day my own children make more choices. As they grow I have to open my hand and let them walk a little farther from me. But right now I can say, ” Look at Jesus, Look to Jesus.” This gives me hope, this is where the peace comes from. We must keep looking at Jesus. He gave us His peace. We need not be troubled. We need not be afraid.