…restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed.” Lamentations 1:16
I was up early this morning, so I grabbed my Bible, a cup of coffee and a cozy blanket. My dog (all 22 pounds of him) snuggled up in my lap. Ahh. This was going to be a good time of joy with the Lord. Yesterday, I read some advice about how to experience more in your walk with the Lord and I was anxious to begin. So, before I opened my Bible I prayed to receive the Word and asked that God speak to me today. I was fully expecting something much different than what I got.
The first section was from Job and was focused on Job’s wife. Oh boy. I started to wonder what I was supposed to “get” from this. As I read about this family that literally lost everything, faced immeasurable suffering and yet, Job pointed out, “shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 1:10) The second section was from Lamentations 1 and 2, painting the picture of the destroyed Jerusalem. I settled in on the verse above, Lamentations 1:16. And then it hit me as her name pressed into my spirit. The message for me in today’s reading is something that I’ve had on my heart for such a long time. I’ve thought about writing this in a letter, but it never felt right. Maybe, just maybe, putting it on paper in this blog will bring peace to someone who desperately needs it.
I have a dear friend whose suffering throughout her life has been the kind that no one would want to believe possible, not unlike Job and his wife’s. She suffered through trauma after trauma in life. Most recently, she lost her husband far too early to circumstances that leave more questions than answers and terminal illness plagues the one member of her family that she can lean on for strength. She is now a widow with two small children and a broken spirit. It’s terribly difficult to see happening to anyone, but especially in the life of someone you care so much about.
And yet, in all this, the part that literally breaks my heart is that she is living this life without the peace and comfort that only Jesus can give. I pray all the time for God to soften her heart and open her ears so she can hear the whisper and feel the nudge. I pray to be one of the lights that help to lead her to the road of salvation. I know that God had brought along side her several friends who love and care for her – and more importantly, friends who are encircling her and her children with prayer.
What do you do when you love someone and want them to know the peace and hope that only Jesus offers, and yet they remain closed to it? Even say things like “I’m pretty angry with your God for letting all this happen.” I certainly don’t have the answers, but in one of those moments, I heard myself saying “well, you may not want to hear this, but He still loves you unconditionally and wants to be in your life.” The thing I continue to do is pray, because I know that works. And we love them and do whatever we can to help them.
I can’t even begin to understand the kind of suffering that Job, or my friend, endured. What I do know that that if a heart is open and made that acceptance of faith in Jesus, there is no sin that can’t be forgiven or suffering that cannot be redeemed for His glory.
Like my sweet little dog cuddled up in my lap this morning, we long to have a safe place we can curl up in where we feel safe, loved and protected. That place, is in God’s loving arms. That is the prayer I pray for my friend. That some day, she will accept the life-changing gift that is salvation. And that through that acceptance, peace will come and she will find rest in the only place there is true rest.