hope spiritual

When All Seems Lost

8:57 AMHeather

When I was a little girl, I can remember telling people, with my little lisp and inability to say "R," that I wanted to be an author and an illustrator. Honestly, to utter those phrases that emphasized my speech impediment was complete vulnerability. Even all these years later, declaring it again here makes me feel vulnerable. But it's still a dream planted deep within me. And so, I am at long last, choosing obedience to begin a writing project that is daunting to say the least. I am writing my story. Even if no one else ever reads it, it is an important process, as I am learning. Because as I relive some very heartbreaking moments, I am seeing God reveal himself in new ways. 

Yesterday, I wrote the section about my dad's death. I retold the scene, processing the feelings and memories and committing them to paper. Or, rather, to my hard drive. It all came flooding back, those wee hours in the morning of May 14, 1990. And so did the tears. As I wiped them from my face, I closed my laptop and moved on with my day. Then, I saw with fresh eyes the tiny miracles of how God has moved in my life. Going to pick up my children from school. Preparing dinner for my family. Texting with sweet friends. The normalcy of my life that I can take for granted because I forget how devastated I truly was. It was something brought to the forefront of my mind again because of my writing. And also because of the news of the death of a high school teacher, who leaves behind his children to grieve the loss of him. I see myself when I pray for them.

In that frame of mind, I started reading Isaiah 6 today. I got no further than verse 1. 

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

The year that King Uzziah died. A year of uncertainty and grief and confusion and loss. And he saw the Lord on his throne. High and exalted. And the train of his robe filled the temple.

I wonder. 

What has died in your life? Or who has died? Or both? Because the loss of a loved one is like a huge stone thrown into the middle of a lake. The ripple effects of the loss go on and on. Dreams die. Hopes die. Sometimes other relationships suffer and have their own form of death. Plans and futures die. The deaths are complex and far reaching. And they also tend to take us by surprise. Because even if you are anticipating the initial loss -- even if you have forewarning -- you are rarely prepared for all that will die with that loss.

This is surely what the prophet Isaiah felt, as the leader of his country died. And so Isaiah writes to you. To every one of you who have faced a death or loss of any kind in your life. 

May we glean the treasures of this one verse.

Here's the truth. It's the truth of my own life. From my own experiences. I do not offer it flippantly or nonchalantly. I offer it today from the deepest parts of myself, from my own life.

In our hardest, gut wrenching moments, we can see the Lord most clearly. When we are flat on the ground, face to the floor, tears wetting the soil beneath us -- pettiness and distractions removed in those raw moments -- we are most perfectly positioned to truly see him. Because pretense is wiped away. And our desperate hearts seek.

Will we look up?

Will we strain our eyes and look intently and focus our gaze heavenward? 

Because when we are spent and depleted and emptied because of our pain, we are actually perfectly positioned to be filled by him.

In the most bitter of moments, his sweetness can be most fully appreciated.

When the waves and wind crash and blow and toss us around, he can become our life preserver.

When we are drowning in circumstances, his rescue is most needed. And most felt. And most seen. When I didn't know how to climb out of bed and function back in my college days, my dependence for the tiniest things made me see how he kept showing up.

When we are stripped and bare and all feels as though it is taken away, the depth of his sufficiency can be explored and discovered. 

Let me ask you this question. Every hurting heart that reads this.

So in the year of _________________, will you seek to see the Lord?

What fills in your blank? In the year of what heartache that you are enduring, will you seek to see the Lord?

See him on a throne? Sovereign. Mighty. Holy. Ruling and reigning. High and exalted.

Can you trust that while you are struggling under the circumstance, he is still in control, according to an omniscient plan for eternal good?

Can you lift your eyes from your pit and believe that he still sits on a throne? And not just "a throne"-- but THE Throne.

Can you beg and plead and seek his greatness to fill every place that human hands have ever built?  The train of his robe filled the temple.

Can you choose to trust that even just the hem of his robe fills every earthly place because of the magnitude of his presence?
Like the bleeding woman who grasped to touch just the hem of Jesus' robe as he passed by when she was searching for healing...

...Can you believe that he's still passing by the very place where you are laid low and weakest, and will you dare to reach for the edge of his glorious robes?

For in our most devastated moments, he is indeed Lord. He is the Lord over all. He sees things from a bigger picture than what we can see from our limited perspective. He is still sitting on the throne. He is still in control. And he can help keep you from spinning out of control. He is still filling the places of earth with the train of his robe. 

That we may dare to believe with boldness and courage that his glory is still passing by us and be brave enough to say--

"I choose to believe that you are still high and exalted above all."

With even the tiniest hint of belief, can you preach that truth to your soul? That God has never left his throne. That the God who created the heavens and the earth is still birthing new things, even in the midst of despair and loss.

And then, in the year of our devastation and grief, we will indeed SEE the Lord.

Just as Job said of God at the end of his journey, when restoration had finally replaced all that was lost to him.

My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.
Job 42:5


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