"But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (Isaiah 43:1, 2 NIV) This passage has been on my mind the last week or more. After hours of reading articles, Facebook posts and other news on the horrific storm that past through my hometown - my heart said, enough is enough. It's time to read Truth. It is time to be reminded of God's character and sovereignty. So I went back to the passage that has been with me already for some time.
When my heart is overwhelmed, I grasp for His light. And my heart is overwhelmed. The brokenness that I feel thousands of miles away is nothing compared to the shock and loss of so many that I know and do not know. My heart grieves with them for I know only in part what it feel to have a loved one ripped from you within moments. I know only in part what it feels to have your world turned upside down, and nothing to ever look the same.
Yet, at the same time, I can't begin to imagine the heartache of a husband and son who will no longer see their beloved wife and mom, and will no longer hold their precious 3 month old little son and brother. This sweet lady, a dear childhood friend, was caught in the storm with her baby boy. I grieve for her family and many others who are in pain tonight after losing a loved one. I cannot imagine what it feels to have every item in your possession, memories and all destroyed and unsalvageable. I just cannot imagine...
And so my heart breaks for what they must feel, and my heart is overwhelmed as well - honestly - for the fear it sparks in my own heart and mind. Their grief and loss is a terrible reminder of what I could face if God should allow it. It is slap across the face reminding me that our lives here are temporary and fragile, and I better be holding only to what matters most for eternity. Really, as much as my heart grieves for them, I selfishly am grieving for myself of what could be. Are we not all guilty of this? We don't mean to, it's just in our nature. We hurt for those that have lost while holding tightly to what God so graciously allows us to keep...for now. We grasp for a false sense of peace, because we still have the things and people we most treasure.
Yet our hearts cannot stay in that false peace, because in all of that is the reminder that just as it was for them, it could be for us. God gives and He takes away. We all must find true peace in our own experience of tragedy, whether it be from afar or firsthand.
Which brings me back to this passage of scripture. True peace. No matter what overtakes us or what threatens - death, disease, or disaster - ours is a happy ending. His promises to be faithful through the storm, even when it overtakes you is that - a happy ending no matter what. If it overtakes us (as it did my precious childhood friend and her baby) - as followers of Christ - ours is happy ending. If we lose everything, His promises remain. When all is said and done, He will be with us to the very end. His love is everlasting to everlasting. It outlasts all tragedy, trials and storms. His light WILL shine in the darkness. And His peace WILL still our overwhelmed hearts.
My prayers continue for all of those affected by this storm. I am saddened for what you must feel right now. For God alone will be the comfort, strength and provision you need. May you know the hope that He offers in eternity - that no matter your outcome here on earth - you will have a happy ending in eternity with Him.
No matter what happens in this life - His promises WILL remain - ours will be a happy ending.