I thought to share this sermon by Melisa Helser that was floating on my YouTube recommendations recently. I watched it sometime back, and I remember sobbing and processing what I was going through at the time. I can’t remember if it’s toward the end of last year or early this year, but I was in a funk and had given up on my dreams and business. I was just out of air. I tapped out. And I was in a bad place. I had gotten tired of my dreams looking like they were going nowhere or not turning out right even though I tried so hard. And this sermon helped me process bits of what I was going through.
At the very worst of it at the beginning of the year, I remember whispering a prayer to God and saying, “I don’t want much from this year. I just want to believe again. I want to trust You again. I want to dream again. I want to have faith again. And I want it to be better than before.” It might appear that my prayers were somewhat powerless because a few months after, we were pregnant and we lost the baby, but dear God! I’m right where I prayed to be. Believing again. Dreaming again. Trusting again. Faithing again. And honestly, it’s better, stronger, unshakable than before. What I’ve learned, no one can take away from me. No one. My testimony, no one can take it away from me. The book I just finished writing through every disappointment and loss that came at Dave and I, no one can take that from me. And it’s only because God held me every step of the way. He was beside me, loving me and healing me through it. And I’ve come out the end of this with fresh eyes, let me tell you.
I’ve re-watched Melisa’s sermon and I suppose God wants to remind me some things even as He did with the previous post. We need to learn how to lament. We need to learn how to grieve. Lord don’t we! The topic of loss, outcomes and disappointment has always been familiar to me. I’ve been in different versions of this boat for most of my life so I guess this year was graduation. Lol. I’ve never been afraid to lament or process my pain. When God instructed Dave and I to get married before the end of 2014 and then later in 2013 things went another way and Dave and I had to postpone the wedding to 2015, I remember going to bed and having a staring contest with God as if He was seated opposite me for weeks. It would last about 10 minutes and then I’d say Amen and go to bed. After some time, I mustered the courage and started telling God (also fighting tears after a long staring contest), “I know You don’t lie but I feel like You betrayed me.” We worked through those emotions for a long time. A long time! Through songs and prayer and presence. And it took me years to understand God’s heart and why things turned out the way they did.
Point is, I wasn’t afraid to be straight with God and neither should you. I think we believe we need to pretend or have to be a certain way with Him. If I’d let you in on the prayers I made the last few months or most of my years as a believer, you’d laugh, cry, be shocked or understand but either way, I’ve been doing real with God a long time. Maybe that’s why He can tell me some things that are sharp but graceful. Like how my first post on the website shared how God told me that if I stopped writing, I wouldn’t be able to do so. As in? Talk about giving it to me straight! Also, God was telling me that casually with a slight smile on His face as I struggled to pick up my jaw from the ground in the dream. I continued to attempt to pick up my jaw from the ground when I woke up. Friends, I did not succeed! Haha! That word was heavy! But He had His purpose for me in mind. He had this in mind. He had you in mind. And I’m mighty glad I didn’t quit.
Look, God’s not afraid of your messy. He loves it. In fact, He loves it so much that He calls Himself the Potter. You see, from my little art class memory from primary school, I remember that clay isn’t just mud and soil. It’s dust with the right amount of water. It’s the broken up, ground up, down to dust parts of us that He can make over again. And He’s good at it. Bring Him your messy. Bring Him your confused. Bring Him your pain. Bring Him your wounds. He works a world of good from broken and shattered pieces.
John 11 has always spoken to me when it comes to this. I’ve been in forums with other believers who said that Jesus wept because of the people’s unbelief, but that just doesn’t sit right with me. Not when Jesus had the most unbelieving lot with Him (called the disciples) throughout His ministry. Seriously! He should have wept that time when they couldn’t cast a demon out of someone’s child. He should have wept when they didn’t believe 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread could feed more than 5,000 people.
I believe Jesus wept not only for Lazarus, Mary, Martha (His friends) and the people grieving with them, but it’s because He felt their hopelessness and sense of loss. Not just as a human but also as God. God weeps. He has emotions too. Let’s not just assume that the human side of Jesus was at play.
Jesus wept in John 11 because He felt the sting of death and the hopelessness it brings. And that broke Him.
And I believe that’s why He wanted to demonstrate to them that He is the resurrection and the life. That He reverses death and gives back life but in a superior form that cannot be taken away so that death’s sting does not consume us. So that we know it’s not for nothing. So that we know where it’s all going to end. Jesus’ remarks pre-weep and post-weep weren’t because He didn’t want them to rejoice at that time. Yes, life would ultimately be restored, but they had laid Lazarus to rest. Jesus mourned with those who were mourning and rejoiced with those rejoicing. And we need to do the same.
Remember, if it matters let it matter. And that God is a good friend, a warrior King for sure, but at other times He’s a nurse to us. We are never alone. He remains. He is Emmanuel and even hurt or pain or grief can’t chase Him away. He longs for you to grieve what’s lost and to release and process your hurts, however long it takes. He will help you through it. I know this all too well.
Let it matter. Grieve.