In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God.
And He took in His hands the void and breathed life. Took the dust of the ground and shaped it with His hands. Created man and woman to stand naked and unashamed. To rest under the shadow of the Word,
“It is good.”
And we know that since we hid ourselves from God, the whole of creation has been groaning in the pains of childbirth. Even now, as we sit in coffee shops and sip local dark roast and dream dreams. Work our daily jobs and laugh amongst our friends.
The whole earth groans. Oh, how it groans.
And we ourselves groan inwardly as we wait for our adoption. Wait for the redemption of our bodies.
“We were promised pain,” she said, sitting with her bony legs against her chest. Staring out the window, her eyes searched the sky.
Her eyes reminded me of the sea. A calm, empty sea. Green and gray.
The brim of them filled with tears, and I felt my cheeks becoming wet. A tear slipped into the corner of my mouth, its salty taste reminding me of the crashing waves. Reminding me of the one who walked on waters. The one who knew me and knows me and bears my burdens.
“What if he is never well…” she says. I feel the great expanse of my heart tighten as I suck in the air in the sunlit room. And I want to look at her and tell her that it will be okay. Comfort her, the way I’d hugged her in the kitchen eight months before and said, “It’s okay. We will just keep praying.”
But sometimes things aren’t okay. Sometimes you watch your grandfather suffer from a disease that debilitates him for the majority of his life. Sit with your friend in the hospital waiting room, witness the pain and horror on the faces when you find out that their sister and daughter and friend isn’t going to make it. Hold children just around the corner that don’t have enough food to eat and have burns and scars they cannot explain. Sometimes you get a call from a little girl and she tells you she’s been raped.
And none of that’s okay.
The whole earth groans, oh how it groans. These are the beginning of birth pains.
And sometimes your spirit grows weary. And you hear the boy that once ran around like a banshee, bright eyed and brave, scream into his pillow. Cry out into the night that he’s miserable and grieved. Hear his fists hit the wall.
I feel the weight of that each morning when I rise. See the broken in his lifeless eyes. And what do you do with that, when you once held him in your arms and gave him a bottle and knew he’d one day grow up to be a brilliant man. When all of you wants nothing more than to protect and heal and love the one you share your name with.
The air grows warmer and I find myself quieter these days, my mind filled with unceasing prayer for healing. For comfort. For peace. For faith. Filled with questions I’m unable to articulate.
The weight of my mother’s words ring in my head, and I am reminded that not once were we ever told that this life would be easy. That deserving happiness is an American dream that we all too quickly reserve for ourselves. And that happiness and joy can be two different things.
We were promised difficulties and the testing of our faith.
I walk the sidewalks and let the rays of sunshine hit my shoulders. And begin to understand what it feels like to walk in genuine peace.
And perhaps faith is recognizing that things aren’t okay but that even in my darkest moments of doubt, in the moments when I wrench my heart out in the night, I still believe that God is good. He is faithful when I am not.
In the groaning, I feel the peace of his presence.
And perhaps faith isn’t being resilient—isn’t resisting the doubt and the fears. Perhaps faith is waking up daily and pouring over the words of the one who once, at first, saw that it was good. Pouring a cup of coffee and taking another step and loving another moment.
And many things will pass, but the Word remains.