The house is quiet and dark when I wake up.
It's my very favorite time of day.
It's so promising, the silence. No dirty dishes clutter the counter or fill the sink, (unless my husband had a late night snack and didn't remember to load his dishes...) no irritation-filled words fill the house, no one has cried, no one has burped or farted or been in desperate need of deodorant or breath mints. Nothing has gotten broken or dented or ruined or burnt or mangled.
And also, the silence that fills my pre-dawn house is FULL of words.
Words from the Lord.
Whispers for my heart.
Peace and mercy and strength for my day.
How often I forget to sit and soak in the silence that isn't quiet at all.
So many times I immediately busy myself with the cares of the day ahead, and the spiritual fullness is drowned out by the sounds of busyness.
Today I almost did it again...I almost went straight for the things awaiting me.
But. I didn't.
And I'm so glad.
Because the silence of my house was, as it always is, filled with the presence of God Almighty, and today I sat with Him, and His presence was a balm to my heart.
Thought after thought ran through my spirit as I paused and listened. As if the Lord were giving me a Bible story overview and then applying it to my life.
I thought of all the women I know, and love, whose hearts are tired and sad and lonely and hurting.
Tear filled eyes and pain soaked words seem to surround me, and seem to be inside me.
So I asked the Lord about it. My heart whispered into the darkness of my house, and the fullness of the spirit realm.
"Why is it, Lord? Always so much struggling. So much sadness. So much hurt. We don't understand. We don't know how to believe that You are good, and that You love us, when all we feel is sad and heart-sore and weary of all the HARD that life brings."
And then the Bible lesson started in my heart. I was reminded of Daniel, and then Noah, and Moses, and David, and Elijah, and the three guys in the fiery furnace whose names I can say but refuse to try and spell, and so many more...
They suffered pain.
They lived with loss.
They were disappointed and unsure and overwhelmed with what life sent their way.
There were floods, and lion's dens, and murder, and fiery furnaces, and dead children, and threats to their very lives.
And even though they are the heroes of the Bible, because they were also human, we can assume that they asked the same questions of God that we ask.
And they probably didn't have any more of the answers than we do.
How do we accept that God is good...and that heart-shattering pain will still come?
That seems to be the question of the ages.
Our understanding of God's love is so limited, though. We can only think as people.
I don't ever want my children and family and friends to feel hurt. Ever.
But God's love desires for us to be more like Him. For us to walk closer with Him. For us to grow in our understanding of Him.
Not just for our own sake, though that is an obvious result...no, His love sees ALL of the pain, and He walks beside us in it SO THAT WE CAN WALK BESIDE OTHERS.
Selfish love wants no pain or struggle or yearning for anything more. Human love desires to shelter and shield.
AGAPE love desires to mold us. His love, sitting here with me in my living room today, isn't soothing my anxious heart for the sake of my heart alone. Rather, He's reminding me that His presence is enough, even in the storms, ESPECIALLY in the storms. The reminder has tears streaming down my face. Because it's not just for me, His love.
Its FOR YOU TOO!
He sits in the dark with me so that I can share with you...
He's with us in the fiery furnace.
He shuts the lion's mouths.
He forgives our greatest failings.
He redeems our mistakes.
He speaks to us in our moments of crisis.
He saves us when the flood rises.
For us, yes, but also for those around us who are drowning and burning up and being devoured. So that we can remind them.
His love...it's in the silence. It's in the pain. It's in every breath and heartbeat. It doesn't make sense that He would allow us to hurt so much...
Except that maybe, just maybe, He was thinking of YOU when He sat beside me in my darkest night.
Perhaps He is thinking of someone you haven't even met yet when He stands with you in the fire.
Maybe His love sees the person who will come into your life feeling destroyed by their failure, as He sits beside you in your failings.
He has not forsaken you, sweet hurting heart.
Even when you don't want Him there. He's there all the same.
Can you hear Him in the silence? Can you feel Him?
The quiet is filled with the voices of children now.
But I am clinging hard to the silence that is full of sound in my heart.
I pray the same for you.