Fast forward to present day. I’m sitting on my apartment balcony listening to a study called Your Comeback by Tony Evans. The scent of lavender once again fills the air but this time it’s fresh from the flowers by my side. Chamomile tea is replaced with coffee and an indulgent sugary cereal is starting to get soggy. An image of my ex and his wife flashes through my mind thanks to a recent Facebook stalking episode.
In the wake of a counseling session addressing a rooted fear of risking sadness in a trade for happiness, Tony confronts me head on.
“Turn your fear into a claiming of God’s promises. Do not be trapped by your yesterday which will ruin today and plague tomorrow with hopelessness. Fear consumes you because of what threatens you. Praise Him in what is happening not because of what is happening. Allow Him to inhabit your praise.” [Paraphrased]
If I would have heard this four years ago, it would have been dismissed; noted as pretty, nice sounding words recorded by some guy. I would have nodded in agreement with this supposed life changing truth. But nothing would have changed. I would have had no idea how this would apply to my life practically nor would I have wanted to figure it out. That door was sealed shut.
Today, I hear those words and am compelled to share what they evoke.
Trust Him when He does.
Trust him when He doesn’t.
Mary kneeled at the feet of her crucified son watching his crimson blood drip into the sand through red, salty eyes. Her heart probably felt like it was moving from one side of her chest to the other. I am nearly positive she was screaming out in pain, whether it was internal or external. I am sure she prayed that her son be spared. He was not. Though this felt like anything but a divine orchestration of history, it was. I am sure she wanted to and/or did question her God.
I can almost picture myself kneeling next to her, my heart strung out on the cross next to Jesus. The gritty ground pressing into my knees as it did hers. The hot sun disappearing behind dark, billowing clouds. My nails clawing into the ground next to hers as heavy sorrows are draped over our shoulders. Empty ultimatums glare darkly at us. Time slips by in a blur and the stone is rolled shut. Sealed. No one to ever enter or exit again.
“The greatest comebacks of all time happen when you have absolutely no solution. You are stripped of everything and all that is left is you and the Lord. When a comeback happens now, it is clear that it is Him.”[Paraphrased; Your Comeback]
I know what happened at the cross and tomb but I had not realized the identical narrative playing out in my own heart. A great and tragic sorrow nailed itself to my back and I walked it into the tomb of my heart and buried it there. But God, in His mind blowing love and mercy, has been waiting outside the tomb; patiently, in love. Allowing me an unimaginable resurrection of my own.
It has taken me a very long time but I can finally accept that my great break happened inside the caring vision of a complex and divine will. One I participated in and, despite my naive humanity, was anticipated by a God way bigger than me. It crucified parts of me I didn’t know needed to be. My three days looked like roughly four years and counting but the door is cracked open and light is streaming into the rancid darkness. Jesus is reaching out for my scarred hands, touching my speared side, and asking me again;
“Do you trust me?”
I will trust Him when He does and I must trust Him when He doesn’t. This is not a lesson learned but a faith earned. I don’t feel nearly ready enough to take a risk on ‘happiness’. But I do feel ready to take an eternal risk on Jesus. That is the only one forever worth taking.