Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Where is Jesus in this Suffering?

Finally, both children were asleep. Peace on their faces. No more needs, wants, questions to force myself to focus on and answer.

It swelled within me until at last I kneeled next to Selah's bed, clinging to the sturdy frame built by her loving Daddy. Forehead on hands, I silently bawled my eyes out in prayer.

Prayer to be a better mother. Prayer to be a better wife, daughter, person... Prayer about things in life I can't control.

A rushing, raging stream of confession of my neediness of Him. A fresh realization of the utter fragility and mortality of this life, these bodies.

Something in my spirit couldn't bear the weight anymore. The weight of all the suffering in this house. The suffering of my sweet Grandmom who struggles even to drink. The suffering of her children and my mother doing all they can, feeling it isn't enough....

So much of it is silent. It is a raw silence.

I feel it, see it.

I have never lived with someone who was suffering like this... dying... before. I have always known death at a distance. Even though my Grandpa stayed with us much of time before he passed, it wasn't like this. The shadow of death holds a whole new meaning for me now.

Oh loving Father, ease this suffering that squeezes breath and smiles from this home.

I try to bring the Baby to say hello to Grandmom often. She loves seeing Alexa, one of her five great-grandbabies. Something about cute, chubby trouble that can't help but make you smile. But the smiles are mostly only mouth, not quite making it to her eyes.

My mom, her main care-taker, bears the most of it I think. She is always thinking, researching, trying new ways to ease Grandmom's pain. She often told me before(and after) labor with my children that she wished she could go through it rather than me. She said she would rather be the one in pain than seeing someone she loved suffer, that that was harder for her, not being able to alleviate the pain. As a woman who has had nine home-births, she doesn't underestimate the pain, she just loves so deeply she'd gladly be the one to bear it.

She reminds me of Jesus in that way. She has been reminding me of Jesus a lot lately.

The other day she was gently kneeling in front of Grandmom, patiently dressing her. She loves her, one of her own in the world, and she has been showing the full extent of her love. She was the hands of Jesus Who washes feet. And I saw Him there so strong in the midst of weakness. He whose feet she was washing. One of the precious sick, thirsty, hungry, helpless least of these. Jesus. In both, with both, Emmanuel.

It was a scene I'll not soon forget.

And in all this suffering, my blindness was crushed.

He is both the humble, willing Servant and the One served.

He is here, so very present in this suffering. The beautiful fragrance of His love overpowers the shadow of death. His strength sustains them both.

Sustains us all. All the time. He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. Why do I regularly forget this and fall into narcissistic blindness?

This suffering crushes pride.

It crushes the walls around my expression of love for Grandmom, for other family members... for mom.

I really hugged mom for the first time in a long time last night. I didn't realize it had been so long until afterward.

It crushes all the facades of my questions, and exposes what is really in my heart.

It crushes unwillingness to ask for help.

It crushes half-hearted prayer.

It crushes so much that I am unaware of that is self-separation from Him.

But He never separates from us.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 8:37-39

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

~1 Peter 4:1-2, 1 Peter 5:6-11

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