On Tuesday we learned the most devastating news that my husband’s closest friend took his own life.
I credit this man for standing by Tim during a season when I felt our marriage was at its weakest. He supported Tim. He loved Tim well. Most of all, he was a safe place where Tim could be honest and he could be honest right back.
The sun may shine, but the world feels dark.
Sadness weighs heavy on my heart.
“Life is not supposed to be this way!” The cry is universal.
Philando Castile should not have been shot buckled into his car.
79 plus people should not be dead or missing in their own homes from a fire that tore through their building in London.
Millions should not be refugees uprooted from their homes and livelihoods.
Our friend should not have succumbed to mental illness.
But these things happened.
And we are reeling.
What next? How do we move forward?
For some people we can demand justice. We can and should bring awareness to mental illness, racial profiling, privilege and the like. And I believe I need to be more involved in these things.
But that’s not what I’m writing about right now.
Today, on a personal level, what do we do with the pain that we feel?
How do we find true healing?
First, we cry a lot.
Tim was speaking to his friend’s widow and she said she has been crying for days. It helps.
In my anger and stress, I easily hold it all in. Keep it together. For the kids. For my husband. For myself. In the past I have let myself believe that by holding it in I am strong. But there must be a release or I will break. So the tears continue to flow today and as I write this.
Second, we turn our eyes upon Jesus.
The Jesus who suffered. The Jesus who went without a home, without food, without comfort. The Jesus who was killed.
Look full in his face. See the compassion there. We do not have a god who cannot relate to our sufferings, but we have The Son who became a human and experienced it all. He wept when his friend died. He weeps with us.
We must receive his tears as a healing balm in our souls. No comments about this being his will, because death and destruction was never ever the will of God. These things are the result of a world filled with sin. I don’t think we have begun to comprehend the impact sin has on us until such huge tragedy strikes that we cannot move forward. And then we can’t understand why. But the forces of evil have been there all along. We just got used to the ordinary evil of the day to day.
For these things Jesus wept. He cried over Jerusalem. He cried over his friends. He cries with us.
Third, we hope and believe.
We trust that though today we experience darkness, the darkness cannot drown out the light of God. For me to believe, I need to be immersed in Scripture and hear the words of God. I need to pray the prayers of the psalmists.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me
Though we cannot see which way is up, darkness is not dark to God. Though we think we are hidden from Him, God can see clearly through the darkness and He is at work to heal and redeem us. He is with us.
The writer of Psalm 136 says if we are at the highest heights or, yes, in the valley of death, we are never too far gone for God. Even in the darkest of valleys, God’s light still shines.
The darkness we rail against is not our bodies, it is not the systems of government, it is not even those we consider the worst of the worst. It is the Devil himself who came to steal and kill and destroy. But Jesus came to bring life abundantly. Life after death. Life today.
Who will we align ourselves with? The carnage of the enemy is all around us.
But so is Jesus’ promise of life.
Though the world is full of darkness, that darkness has nothing over the Light of God. As I wrote last week, the darkness cannot comprehend the strength of the Light. It may think it is winning, but it doesn’t know that God is not done yet.
I believe we will get through this.
I believe we will heal from this. Because Jesus brings life to those who believe.
I believe God sees injustice around the world against the poor, the black, the women, the children. His justice is coming.
I trust that our friend is with God right now. Completely healed. Wholly held.
Just as we will be.
Come, Lord Jesus.