“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen.”
This has always been one of my favorite quotes. I saw it come across my Twitter or Fb feed on September 11th and I thought to myself, yes, terrible things do indeed happen. I wanted to write a post that day but the words just wouldn’t come. Yes, I remember where I was that morning. I remember how I went to work and tried to make the most of my day. All of my movements mechanical, doing what I love by rote. Trying to make sense of what was happening. I remember how I felt. Forever changed by an incident that didn’t affect me personally but affected me all the same.
Don’t we all have those incidents in our lives? Those things that forever change the way we look at the rest of our lives. Financial losses. The loss of a child. A spouse. A partner. A friend. Rejection and disappointment from a parent. Death and devastation at the hands of another. Rape. Murder. Abuse. The loss of trust due to spiritual abuse at the hands of the church.
The list is endless. This list of terrible things. And as varied and unique as each and every one of us. For many of us, when these things happen, we begin to question and to doubt. Our faith. Our beliefs. The very existence of God. At the very least, the existence of a god who loves us and cares about the things that happen in our lives. And this becomes one of those terrible things.
“Don’t be afraid.”
This is the part I struggle with. I imagine many of you do as well. How in the world can you not be afraid? Of being hurt. Of loss. Of being disapppointed. Of devastation. Of being alone. There are times when the fear is overwhelming. Times when the fear is paralyzing. So much so that we forget to live our lives in the moment because we spend so much time living in the what ifs.
“I am with you.”
We also forget that God is with us. He never promised that life wouldn’t be difficult. That there wouldn’t be things that would knock the breath straight out of us. And when you grow up in church being told that these things happened because you didn’t believe enough, pray enough, have faith enough, you question the very existence of a loving God. The existence of grace. Of restoration. Of redemption.
He came in our weakness to experience everything as we would. To know what it’s like to be cold and hungry. To be hurt and disappointed. To be lonely. To weep over loss. To ultimately be betrayed. He knows how to sit with us in it.
Beautiful things will happen.
Living in the what ifs takes our focus off the beautiful things that happen in our lives. We need to focus on taking the time to actually see those things. To live in the moments of beauty. Lean into the Jesus who is sitting with us in the midst of the terrible things. Because there’s beauty in knowing that someone gets us. That someone allows us to glimpse their me too moment. There’s beauty in that vulnerability. Sometimes, beauty is hard.
Be that beautiful thing for someone. Especially if they are doubting and questioning their faith. Let them lean into you. They need something to grab hold of. Some thread of faith or belief. Some thread of hope that this is not all there is. That they are not alone.
God knows I have needed my share of beautiful things lately. I have needed that thread to hold on to. That hope that I am not the only one. I think we all have these moments. The moments when we need someone to lean into. Someone to lean on.
Someone to be that beautiful thing…