Alone in our hotel room I let the tears flow. I couldn't stop them. They slid out and I cried.
They were losing their child. I had just gotten the news, my dear friends were losing the baby who was still growing into life as I wept. I cried for their loss, I cried because we'd never get to meet this little one.
It's been a few weeks since that day, and the tears still sometimes catch us by surprise. They probably always will. I talk with my friend over the phone. There's still so much confusion about why. I don't really know what to say. I know the "answers". And I believe them. The answers that God is still good and in control. But here in this place, with memories of flashing ambulances and emergency rooms still playing in the background, it doesn't feel like I can utter them.
We cry together over the phone. I hate being so far away.
But I love watching my sweet friend fight for joy in Christ through the pain. Here in this thin, thin, thin place she is jumping to reach heaven. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
And when I got this text message, my heart almost burst:
Last night and this morning were really hard. But I KNOW my God is for me and KNOW I am not alone. And His love endures forever. And he is constant. And he is might and worthy to be praised.
Joy isn't a switch you can just turn on, think positive and make it all go away. This joy, the kind that trusts in the Lord despite pain is just pure faith. Faith believes despite insufficient evidence. This hasn't stopped being a horrible and painful experience. It still hurts. It still is enough to break a person. But by faith we keep walking.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. - John 20:29
I know my friend hasn't stopped feeling pain, or that she suddenly sees and understands why all this has happened. But she is believing that God is who he says he is, no matter the circumstance. And she is blessed.
Life is real, pain is real. We lose and grieve. But God didn't stop being good when his Son was whipped and beaten. He didn't stop being sovereign when Jesus took his last breath. And though we can't see and don't see the end of the stop right now, we have faith and believe there's a joy that's coming. Even here, in the thinnest of places.