from an article originally posted April 22, 2014...
Death and resurrection are what the story is about and had we but eyes to see it, this has been hinted on every page, met us, in some disguise, at every turn, and even been muttered in conversations between such minor characters (if they are minor characters) as the vegetables.
C.S. Lewis, Miracles
Two Sundays ago Jason preached a sermon of such grace and I was deeply moved and convicted. A simple message resounded in my heart. It was the message of Emmanuel—God with us. But it was not a simple message; it was a complex and painful message. I was being asked if I truly believed it. I was being asked if I understood it beyond my ability to write words in this place. As the pain in my mouth, was daily becoming more and more unbearable and no solution seemed to be coming: I was being asked if I believed God was with me.
And more than was Jesus with me, was he good? If the pain never stopped, would my trust in His goodness also cease? I was quieted, I was utterly humbled and broken by the request. And more than the simple request to trust was the question, If you only continue to decrease, and become less of you—the strong you—would you trust me?
I came home and cried the conviction to Jason, I wept the question, and a shared my deep struggle with my answer. My first answer was a solid, Yes, Jesus. But I was so like Peter. When my first trials came, when the answers to relieve my pain didn’t come, my real answer was No, Jesus, no. I cried bitter tears at what was being asked of me. Kindness, trust, faith, belief when it felt terrible.
I was driving home with angry tears streaming down my face, and I drove past the junior high where we meet every week. The quiet reminder came, Kara, do you love me? Kara, remember meeting me here? Kara, oh Kara, I am trustworthy.
I am so much like Peter, ready to run when it gets truly hard. But Jesus cannot help being who He is, full of love and grace and gentle admonition of his flailing daughter. He loves, oh how he loves.
So why does the resurrection matter the Tuesday after Easter? Because the power over death, his and mine, is just as powerful today as it was on Sunday. He grants his power to seek grace, to see His grace, when all I want to do is wallow is self-pity and sadness. He lifts my face when the sorrow is thick, and He alone knows the messy that is me, and still loves. That is powerful because I’m simply a hot mess. There is no love more powerful than the love of Jesus.
Today, this day, I am filled with fear. Today is the day I have been asked to turn over the words I have written in The Hardest Peace. I’m full of fear over my feeble words, full of fear that the end of the writing process will leave me bankrupt. This book, the putting together of these words, my heart—it has done so much to keep me going—the remembering of goodness in my hard. The writing of my story has given me reason to wake, move, seek grace, and put the naming on paper. And the writing of those words is coming to an end. And in this new edge of fear, anxiety, loneliness, time, Jesus must be bigger. This book was never mine to keep, I’m only a steward of the words granted me. It is the story Jesus wrote—my messy weak faith next to His sure and certain grace and love. I’m simply afraid to turn it over. I trust him, but I tremble in my own weakness. So today, this day, from my weak place and fear, the resurrection has to be more powerful than my own fear.
What edges of life have met you today, that feel too big? How does the resurrection of Jesus matter in that hard in your life? Where are you looking only upon your own strength and not at the power of God? How can you trust, simply trust the goodness of God, even if the answers you long for aren’t coming? How can you begin to turn over the authorship of your life to Jesus today? He is trustworthy!