Sometimes it is so hard to see the beauty in the midst of the brokenness; in the midst of jagged grace. Lives are taken way too young and we find ourselves grasping to hold onto hope; resurrection hope. Yesterday I learned of the news of a seminary friend and colleague who passed away in his sleep. Justin was one of the kindest souls around and he had a pretty awesome sense of humor too. Yesterday that laughter was stifled by the tears of those who know and love him. My heart is weary and numb and aches deeply for Justin’s family especially his beloved wife Jillian and their two young children.
Justin is not the only life to be taken way too soon. Last week, many of my seminary friends shared of the death of one of their colleagues. Maggie too leaves behind her beloved husband Michael and their two young children.
The reality, my friends, is that life is filled way too often with the awful. It is hard to cling to the amazing when we hear these stories of brokenness. We want so desperately to hear the promises of resurrection hope. In the words of Clarence W Hall, “Easter says you can put death in the grave but it won’t stay there.” I want to believe these words, but in the midst of brokenness and jagged grace, they are extremely difficult words to hear.
I want to hold those I love even more close. I want to gather my seminary friends as we grieve the death of a beloved colleague and friend. And as we gather, I want to embrace each of them and not let go. It is during times like these that I have an even more love-hate relationship with the world; emphasis on the hate part.
My heart cries out in the midst of the brokenness; why oh Lord? Why did children lose their parents? Why do we lose a friend way too soon? Why did a gunman feel the need to shoot individuals in Las Vegas? I find myself searching for answers to my questions; finding very few answers in the midst of the awful.
It can be so hard to cling to the promises of hope when we lose those we love. It can so difficult to reach out to our God as we cling to resurrection hope. But it is the awful and the brokenness and jagged grace that changes us; that shapes us into whole beings who are just a little bit more fragile than we were before. Our cracks are where God’s love and the light shines through. It is the cracks that tell the story of who and whose we are.
The truth is that life and death are a part of the journey. One of my favorite theologians Frederick Buechner once wrote, “What’s lost is nothing to what’s found. And all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.” Those are words that I am trying to cling to today as I mourn a friend and a colleague. Life often isn’t fair and brings with it its fair share of awful.
But it is the awful that breaks forth to the amazing. However, we would much rather not experience the awful; the next hard thing. Yet, in the midst of the awful and the amazing, God has this way of, in the words of Gungor, making beautiful things out of us!
Today I am linking up with these lovely ladies: Kelly and the RaRa linkup and Jennifer and Tell His Story!