I’m drawn to the quiet lately. To the song of nature’s choir. The sermon of the moving trees.
The early morning air of October touches my bare feet, and I pull them in closer beneath the quilt that covers the rest of me. My coffee steams and burns the already raw skin on the roof of my mouth.
And perhaps, in this season, this is also church. Perhaps this is my communion.
I sit, soaking in the sun, a voice ringing over and over in the back of my head—a metronome by which my own heart has kept time.
“I don’t want this to be my story.”
Her voice sent pains to my heart,
haunting me as I’ve scrambled eggs or put in loads of laundry. As my hands have scrubbed the shower and shredded papers.
Me either, I’ve thought.
But what do we do with that? What do we do when this story—OUR story—the one we wake up every day and live isn’t what we thought it would be? What we dreamed of as little girls under starry skies? As little boys in the treetops.
When we haven’t yet come out on top. When the chapter seems to drag on. When we haven’t been healed or the depression still lingers or we haven’t accomplished what we thought we would. When that relationship still hasn’t mended or that job still hasn’t come around or the person we were sure we’d end up with hasn’t yet entered the picture.
When we don’t feel like the hero and our lows feel so very low.
What do we do when we look around and we want to be the leading character in someone else’s life?
I see the contrast of pain and joy all throughout the Bible. The dichotomy of good and evil. The theme of light and dark. Highs and lows.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.1
And oh, God saw the light was good. And don’t we know it inside of us? That good exists? Don’t we long to look at our circumstances—at ourselves—at our story and see that good?
But in the good of what he’d just created he was also hovering over the waters in the darkness. He was there when the earth was empty. He was there in the messy and unformed. And since he created good, we know that He IS good.
Even in the darkness, there was goodness.
On the cross that day—Jesus hung there—arms spread out. Heart wrenched. Mocked. Yet, still, separating light from dark. Tearing the curtain.
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”2
The words rolled off his lips and mixed with the sweat and tears and blood.
But those words—they first were mixed with David’s tears.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning. Oh my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.
YET you are enthroned as you Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.3
That YET is key.
Lament. Praise. Lament. Praise. The pattern of the Psalms. The pattern of David’s writing. And perhaps what Jesus is pointing us to.
Perhaps in the separating of light and dark—perhaps in the definition of suffering and pain—Jesus is showing us what to do when we are in the midst of a story we don’t want to be ours. A plot line that seems wearisome. A role that seems so far outside what we ever wanted.
Lament. But still praise. In whatever way you know how.
That in every story, there is still a YET.
Perhaps he is reminding us that God is in the light. But that He is also in the dark. In the story that seems formless and void of anything good. That he’s there—hovering over all of it.
Lament. And praise. Lament. And Praise. Reminding us that there’s room for both in our lives.That both are part of our story. And that he’s hovering over us in all of it.
So, I say, Sing on, choir master. Sing on, little Sparrow. Fill the October air with your goodness.
1. Genesis 1
2. Matthew 27:46
3. Psalm 22