so basically, every sermon since i've been home has been exactly what i needed to hear at that exact moment - like a personalized "here, blake, this one's for you." i actually started crying in the middle of church this past sunday - can you believe that? (i hid it fairly well.. but there were tears nonetheless.) the sermon was on ecclesiastes 3. yes- that famous chapter on the "times for everything." basically, like the chapter title says, there's a time for everything... sometimes this weird, crazy mix of things we call "life" adds up. sometimes it clicks and it makes sense and it's good. and sometimes it doesn't. for example, death. how is the heck is that good? how does that make sense? in the "times for everything," it says there is a time for mourning. for grief. it's a part of the greater picture, and to deny it is to deny being human.
here's what gets me (this might be a lengthy entry - i took a lot of notes) - God never designed for us to die. we were made to LIVE. everything about death seems wrong and strange to us because we weren't designed for it. at funerals, we celebrate life, we honor... we try to see the good. but if we're being honest, it sucks. it aches in that place inside you, where words cannot express.
this is when it really hit me. "he has made everything beautiful in its time." (ecc. 3:11.) this means that everything, everything will be beautiful eventually. do i believe that? could it be that there's something far bigger and far more beautiful about death than we could ever fathom with our finite, human brains?
april 26, 2006 happened, and i was crushed. i was crippled by the pain. maybe that sounds dramatic, but that's exactly how i felt for a long time. it's taken me over two years to be able to feel like i'm beginning to "heal"- whatever that means. it still hurts. it hits me at random times, and i don't hold back the tears. i let myself remember, because i think it's important to remember. but i also let myself realize all that's happened in those 2+ years. it's hard to say that "good" has happened because of it. i hate saying that. but i have to acknowledge that God has moved mountains in my life. i have to. it's very possible i wouldn't have gone to ireland without laurel's enthusiastic and earnest encouragement to go. (which still gives me goosebumps, by the way.) and i know i wouldn't have the perspective i now have on life. it's a gift. a precious gift. i've learned that time after time after time... after losing my sweet grandma; after losing a dad in our small group to suicide; after walking through life with a close friend who, at 20 years old, unexpectedly lost her dad.
all of that to say, we cannot even begin to fathom the way God works. we are fools to try to put him in a box. he does beautiful, permanent things in his time, not our's.
it's like this. God is weaving our lives together into a beautiful, permanent tapestry. (none of us know the picture.. not yet.) but we know it's beautiful and we know it's intricate.
sometimes, i think we get glimpses of the picture. we see the beauty of redemption, and we get a taste. we see sacrifice and grace and brokenness and healing and we see a little more. but often, for me at least, all i can see is the back - the confusing, frustrating parts - the knotted threads, the gaps, the tangled mess. i can't see beyond it. but what's so amazing is that while i can't see past the mess, the picture on the flipside is becoming clearer and more beautiful. i fully believe that. and i also trust that God uses the the gaps and the tangled threads for good. it's all part of the plan. to wish those away might mean to wish away the very things God wants to use in our lives to make us more like him. (WOW.)
God makes everything beautiful in its time. everything happens for a reason. everything. and there is a time for everything. God, please help me remember this.