He stayed. 

It was word vomit.

My counselor wrote quickly as more and more words were spat out and choked back.

The room. The air. The notepad. All filled with my words.

She looked at me with those kind, understanding, and heartbroken eyes. I appreciate this about her. I know she is genuinely grieved for me. And she said, “Shara, you touched on it earlier, and I agree. Eventually, you have to stop processing through this. You aren’t ever going to understand.”

I knew she was right. I have to stop processing or else I can never move on. But I want to understand. My mind has searched tirelessly for logic. But there isn’t any.

My mind went to Job. Job never saw why he suffered. God never explained it to him. Understanding “why” is not a prerequisite for faith.

Faith is hard.

I walked down and sat in the spot where it all ended. When I had no idea what was to come. And I said out loud all the things I’ll never understand. And I told the invisible him that he has hurt me worse than anyone ever has. And that I forgive him. And that every day I ask God to help me to keep forgiving him. And I said that I was leaving him and all of it there. And I have to let it go. All of it. Understanding. Wanting answers. Wanting justice. Wanting resolve and reason for all the pain. I have to let it go. And I prayed for God to somehow make something profitable out of this pain and mess. And then I walked away.

And the thoughts still come. The lies still fight. And I just keep reminding myself (so many times a day) that I let it go. Stop processing. Think about other things (Philippians 4:8). I left it there. It has to stay where I left it. I have to keep going. I have to learn to be okay again.

I sat in the Good Friday service at my church last night as we meditated on the cross.

Have you ever felt like God doesn’t love you?

It’s something I know is true. Like how I know my jeans are blue and my shirt is white. But I have often struggled to feel like God loves me.

I think it’s because I struggle to see love as sometimes being the allowing of pain. I think I often believe love is giving me what I want, fulfulling my dreams and desires, and making my life easy and pain-free.

By that definition, God doesn’t love me.

My pastor looked at us and implored us to look at the cross. Because of the cross, we can never dare to say that God doesn’t love us.

Jesus was despised, rejected, betrayed. And for the first time, I felt those words with Him. I felt them deeply. For the first time I shared them, in a small part, with my Savior.

His body broken and destroyed. Annihilated. Nailed naked to a cross. Suffocating. Battered. Beyond recognition. And He drank the cup. The wrath of God.

And He was innocent. He didn’t do anything to deserve death. But I have. I have done so many things and not done so many things I ought to have done. And I deserve to die. And He knew that. So He died instead. Ultimately to satisfy God’s character, and ultimately for love. He loves me.

He loves me.

Tears fall as I try to let that sink into the cracks of my brokenness.

He loves me. 

Charles Spurgeon said, ‘Jesus Christ was up on the cross, nailing, bleeding, dying, looking down on the people betraying him, and forsaking him, and denying him, and in the greatest act of love in the history of the universe, HE STAYED!’

He stayed.

Tim Keller writes,

“If he wouldn’t abandon you then, he wont abandon you now. If he wouldn’t abandon you when Hell itself was coming down on him, if that didn’t separate his love from you do you think you having a bad week is gonna do it? Do you think there is anything that you can do that could destroy his love for you when that couldn’t do it? Or when bad things are happening to you all over and you say, “I must be abandoned!” If he didn’t abandon you there, he isn’t going to abandon you now. He spared not himself. The Father spared not his own Son. … He gave us the ultimate gift, and you think somehow that he is going to let your life go off the rails now? He’s not going to deny you anything you need. This is the love you’ve been looking for all your life.”

No matter what this life brings, there is the cross. 

I have to keep telling myself that I left it. I have surrendered my desire for understanding into His wise and sovereign hands. I have to remind myself this constantly for the thoughts keep resurfacing no matter how busy I try to keep myself. 

But I also have to keep the cross at the forefront of my mind. Not only is He wise and sovereign, He is loving. He loves me. Even when life screams the antithesis of love. He loves me.

When life screams at you the contrary, remember Good Friday. Remember Easter. God loves you so much. With a love that does not fail. Does not fluctuate or change. Is not based on your performance or the way you look.

It is a love that does not spare pain. But it is a love that broke into our pain, took our pain, and died to free us from pain. A love that hates our pain. A love that holds us in our pain.

A love that will never end.

The proof of this love?

He stayed.

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