For David… Thank you for the last 18 years and all that they’ve held. Happy Anniversary!
Moments before showing my husband’s “milestone birthday video” to a group of our dear friends, I read the following. If you listen beyond the words, you’ll hear a faint whisper echoing ancient truths of struggle, redemption, and ultimate rest…
“A picture is worth a thousand words” the saying goes… As we crack open the dusty albums of our memories, we take a few minutes to stroll through the snapshots that comprise our lives. Each picture has a story. A prologue, a theme, and an afterword. We see frozen moments in time: the smiling faces, sleeping babies, sandcastles on the beach, and milestones and holidays celebrated. We are grateful to our God for these joyful moments, and pause to smile and “remember when”.
Yet veiled behind the surface, there is always a deeper story: The argument that happened hours (or minutes) before the picture was taken, the deeper ache just below the surface of the smile, the unexpected turn of events that was to come just around the corner. It is in the moments, days, and months between the snapshots that we live our lives. And it is in this broader narrative that the master storyteller unfolds his greatest epic. It is a story of redemption and restoration. A story of hope in the midst of despair. A theme that never changes and a hero who always shows up to save us.
And so it is in life. We bring to the Lord and to others what we think is our best. We work diligently to refine and present our talents, giftedness, and God-given dispositions. We want these things to be a reflection of God and a blessing to others. We would like the smiling snapshots to represent the total picture of who we are. Yet there is more…
“Our brokenness also reveals something about who we are. Our sufferings and pains are not simply bothersome interruptions of our lives; rather they touch us in our uniqueness and our most intimate individuality. The way I am broken tells you something unique about me. The way you are broken tells me something unique about you. That is the reason for my feeling very privileged when you freely share some of your deep pain with me, and that is why it is an expression of my trust in you when I disclose to you something of my vulnerable side.” Henri Nouwen
So as we pause to reflect on God’s goodness and provision, we do thank him for the smiling faces, the sleeping babies, the sandcastles and cheerful celebrations. Yet we also give him great thanks for the brokenness, the loss, the despair. For it is in his constant redemption of these difficult experiences, the smaller stories told by our lives, that the theme of his greater story consistently plays out. He continues to be the one who does and will continue to “restore the years that the locusts have stolen.”