I am usually so full of words. Words tend to pour out of me. Most days words flow and flow and flow in what must seem like an endless stream to those who love me most.
I often find I have almost as much to write. (Again with all of the wordy words!)
Words are my solace and my joy. Words delight and amuse me. Words – words – words. Words! I delight in words!
But not so these past days.
I find that the words are not flowing.
Instead I find myself listening. And praying. Oh how I am praying. And I am thinking. And I am seeking time for silence and contemplation. And observing and listening some more.
These have been hard days. It has been a long week. A heavy week. A painful week.
My heart is so weighed down and filled with grief. Our Christian community is grieving. My sisters and brothers in Christ are hurting. Our hearts are broken. We are sad. We are grieving.
This is hard. This is sad. This is so wretchedly awful it is hard to put it into words . . .
And so I listen. And I pray. And I wait in silence. And I sigh those sighs Saint Paul talked about in his letter to the Romans and depend on the Spirit to intercede for me with sighs too deep for words. (Romans 8:26).
I hear scripture rolling around in my mind. God’s Word comes back to me. All of that time writing sermons and reading and preparing Bible studies and doing church-y things is blessing me.
I have verses that my mind returns to again and again when I need comfort and solace and strength for the journey.
“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. . . even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” Yes – through – not into forever but through. Yes – I needed to be reminded that the dark valley isn’t where we stay. It isn’t our permanent residence.
And again I return to Romans 8 – to be reminded of God’s love and care when I am heartbroken.
“What then are we to say about these things? Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Life is hard. Saint Paul really hits the nail on the head when he lists life as one of the things we all fear might separate us from God – doesn’t he? We all need this reminder that God won’t let anything come between us – not even life in this broken – sinful – incredibly human world. God’s love for us is bigger than even this life!
And Isaiah 49:16. “See, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands.” This image of being in God’s hands . . . this strengths me.
And Psalm 46. I turn to Psalm 46 again and again. The silence part is great – but my favorite reminder is that the God of our ancestors is faithful and with us.
“The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” – Psalm 46:7
Our God doesn’t promise us that bad things won’t happen to us or those we love. Our God promises us that we are not alone. God is with us in the storms of life. Our God is with us.
I have been seeking and listening and praying and waiting in silence.
What are the verses from God’s Word that strengthen you? That offer you comfort and solace?
What offers you comfort?
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –