And who could have told us that a year ago?
We’d all now be living through a once-in-a-lifetime storm of historic proportions — and what you feel in your bones right now is the exhaustion of grief and fear and the unknown.
In the midst of this blinding squall of this pandemic with 40 foot waves, we are all kinda desperate to wake up and find our way back to a life that we think still exists somewhere behind us.
It’s okay to be sad: We’ve lost the way we used to simply grab some groceries, or easily retreat to a local coffee shop, or gather in full classrooms and our calendars are haunting reminders of what one was.
It’s right to grieve: There are no wedding bells ringing, no prayer meetings where we grab hands or happy potlucks together under church steeples and there are all our grandmothers passing birthdays at windows of hauntingly empty rooms, looking out at eerily empty streets.
It’s a painful reality: Whatever next week, next month, next year holds, there are people we know who are not going back to their work, there are dreams that all of us, and people we love have deeply sacrificed for, that are now ashes in the wind, there are people we know who may wake up one morning with a slight fever, a barely cough, who end up in ICU dying terrified and alone.
However the next few years unfold, there is going to be suffering that enfolds us all.
Because the reality of the trajectory of human life isn’t a straight lined of ascent, from strength to strength, climbing higher and higher, but like a repeating W, a dying and rising, a dying and rising, over and over again — the heights and peaks of the cresting waves — and then the depths and valleys of the falling waves.
Life is waves — and there is no controlling these waves. Grief comes in waves. Suffering comes in waves. There is no controlling life’s storms, there is only learning to live with waves.
The real work of being human is mastering how to process losses while being in the process of moving forward.
And right now? Now isn’t the time to be up on the deck drinking Tequilas while the Titanic sinks. Now is the time to wake up to the waves, get all hands on deck, and call on the One who doesn’t just calm one storm, but calms all our storms.
Now is when we realize: Losses are a given, but what you do with what’s still been given, is what will take you where you want to go.
Loss may be a four letter word — but it’s a word that you don’t read to understand, but rather one you feel in your gut and hold on to Jesus to keep standing.
In the losses, we gain an understanding of who we really are. In losses, we gain a vision of who we can still become.
Will a global crisis around us grow godly character in us?
To move forward through these losses, this grief and suffering, there isn’t one of us who won’t have to learn to ride the waves and feel the stages of grief and still believe there is a way through.
And when I look at the sea of days in front of us, across a new month full of unknowns, what I know? It’s as though we may have not signed up for a pandemic, we definitely signed up for The Complete Passage Deal.
Like that old story often told goes, of the European family who squirrelled away every possible penny for years to buy passage across the ocean to the United States of America. For days, the family huddled in their bunks, nauseated by the relentless tossing of waves, and meticulously rationing the meagre supply of flat bread and cheese they’d carefully wrapped for the long passage across weeks of waves.
Finally, several days into the passage, one of the older children earnestly appealed, “I don’t think — I can keep down one more bite of stale flat bread and cheese. I don’t know — how — if — I can survive this.”
Concerned, his mother consulted with his father, and together they scrounged up a precious handful of change, pressed it into the child’s hand with permission to see if there was any other affordable food to be had up in the ship’s galley.
After what felt like hours, the child returned to the happy relief of the parents who gathered the child up, “Ah, we were so wildly worried about you. Why didn’t you come back any sooner?”
“Oh, I’m sorry — I’ve just been savoring the best pork ribs I’ve ever had in my life.”
“Pork ribs? With a fistful of change?”
“Oh, I just wish we’d known sooner: The food is free!” The child grinned. “It comes complete with the passage.”
When Jesus is the way across, the way through, the passage through this life and into the next — you realize it’s an All Inclusive, Complete Passage Deal, right?
Jesus doesn’t say “I am the Way” to heaven, but hey, provisions aren’t provided for the Way, meals are on your own, accommodations aren’t included, so you’ll actually have to pay your own way, you’ll have to hustle till you’re ready to drop dead, jostle hard for the best place, scrounge and worry and hurry for your own way, to have enough, and do enough and be enough,
No, read the fine print on the Complete Passage Deal. It all comes down to this passage: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
There is no way Jesus could deny what you need now — when He gave you Himself, all that you need for all eternity.
There is no way Jesus could let you drown in the waves — when He made Himself into the Way, to be your very passage through every wave.
There is no way Jesus could leave you high and dry now — when He left the heights of heaven to make a way for you to walk through every storm on dry land.
If you make Jesus your passage through the storm — everything you need comes complete with the passage.
Peace? It comes complete with the passage.
Joy? It comes complete with the passage.
Courage? It comes complete with the passage.
Endurance? It comes complete with the passage.
Hope? It comes complete with the passage.
Because He completely gave the greatest thing at the Cross — how can He not completely provide everything needed for the passage across now?
The WayMaker makes sure you have everything you need for the Way.
If Jesus gives Himself as our atonement — Jesus will give us everything we need, moment by moment.
Loss may be a four letter word — but so is Hope.
No matter what comes to pass — He will give everything needed for the passage.
Life, grief, suffering, it all comes in waves— but we can get out the boat, we can have faith to walk on waves, we can look up and see through the underbelly of storm clouds, to a shimmer of star, a shaft of light, that catches us like hope finding us again, and we can feel it warm on our heaven-turned faces.
Every darkened shadow of suffering is but a passing thing: there is always light and more light above this temporal storm.
This too shall pass — and everything we need till this storm passes, it comes complete with the passage.
In Christ, we are all living in an ocean of light, so there is no grief, no suffering, no loss to ever fear.
There is light above this storm and no suffering can carry us away from the reach of His light.
The deeper the waters, the closer our Father.
Because actual lives depend on it.
Right now, we all desperately need to be the gift to each other. To stand together in solidarity—FOR each other—knowing that an act of kindness, giving it forward, can be more powerful than the spread of any pandemic, more powerful sword in starting movements that move us all toward Love.
Could there be a more beautiful way to live your one life in times like these?
WE CAN #SHOWUPNOW, DO THIS THING AND #BETHEGIFT!
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