You guys, there is so much pain in the world right now. I can’t even comprehend it all, no one can, we’re all overloaded, overwhelmed, exhausted. Compassion fatigue is real -- some days we just can’t absorb any more pain.
We’ve been here before, as a family, living in that exhausted fog. Five years ago our sweet 3-yr-old daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma/leukemia. We plunged into a dark tunnel we never dreamed of entering, and while she was (thankfully) declared to be in full remission just 6 weeks into treatment, we had to endure four more month-long phases of intense chemo (followed by nearly 2 years of maintenance injections and oral meds).
By the end of that year I was wrung out. We had beaten the cancer, but I was completely wrecked on all levels. Compassion fatigue sapped my emotions, adrenal fatigue pulled my body under, and I fell into depression, this numb space where all my senses were deadened, including my spiritual sense. I couldn’t feel God’s presence at all. I wasn’t sure I even liked Him anymore. How could He let our smallest, most vulnerable family member endure such agony? There were no answers.
Another family we “met” on Facebook were also battling cancer at the same time. This precious family ended up having to say goodbye to their sweet girl. The pain was unendurable. It could so easily have been Ruby with the untreatable type of cancer. Why them and not us? Ruby had prayed for Ava, we had all prayed, and now Ava’s family had no Ava. And no answers. It was just too much. I felt numb.
* * *
About ten years ago the beautiful garden city of Christchurch, New Zealand, was devastated by several major earthquakes. The first quake, in September 2010, its epicenter directly under my husband’s childhood town, killed no one.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
A few months later, in February 2011 a severe aftershock brought down buildings weakened by the first quake, and killed over 180 people.
No one could believe it.
Five years later we were back in Christchurch Ruby’s initial phases of chemo treatment, and we found ourselves processing and grieving with friends as they continued the excruciatingly extended process of rebuilding: homes, beautiful historical buildings, sometimes careers, if a company had to restructure or close down. Whole neighborhoods were “red zoned” ghost towns.
Just a couple years ago on a Friday in March, during prayer at two different Christchurch mosques, deadly bullets flew, killing 51 fathers, husbands, sons. The outpouring of grief from the city was heard worldwide in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack that small, peaceful country has ever experienced.
Less than a year after the shootings we were back in Christchurch for a visit, and the shock, horror and outrage were palpable. During that visit I sang this song live for the first time at our little church in Christchurch. (This was in early 2020, literally days before the world started shutting down due to the Covid_19 virus.) I had written the song five years earlier while Ruby was sick, but I couldn't get over how perfectly the words of the bridge seemed meant for that city.
Mountains slide into the sea
Asking why brings no relief
Tears flowed in the service as we grieved together. Too many things. Too much pain, too much grief.
This planet and all the people who live on it are groaning under weights we were never meant to carry. The pressing down of pain and the unbearable ache of loss are just too heavy. This one city in this one small country is a microcosm of all kinds of pain and grief.
But God is actually enough.
People, he really is. He truly has everything we need. He Himself is everything we need.
His presence. His power. His peace. His help. His endless strength.
He picks us up off the floor. He lifts our chin and looks into our eyes, and we see His tears. He tells us we are not alone, we're never alone.
If we’re honest, we’re in need every single day. It’s not just during a crisis that we need to feel loved, to know that someone takes delight in who we are -- it’s all the time. We need fresh creativity every day. We’re hungry for beauty. We stamp our feet for justice and crave vengeance. We’re thirsty for goodness and mercy. We’re desperate for comfort.
God Himself is the answer.
God is the unshakeable rock onto which we can collapse when everything else is crumbling away: our faith, our basic trust in our fellow man, our hope, any sense of control and security, our confidence in society.
In Him we live, and move, and have our being. Jesus is the actual beginning and the actual end. He sums everything up.
He's the first and the last, the first human being to experience being born anew from among the dead.
His death bought our life.
His life lives in us.
He really is everything we need, even in an earthquake, or a pandemic, or a terrible diagnosis.
He truly is enough for whatever you are facing today.
(If you're in need of prayer, for any reason, please click on the Contact tab and send me a note. I would truly love to lift you up, whatever you're facing.)