Easter morning felt all wrong.
Not because the alarm went off at 4:00 a.m.
Not because I was running late (again) for worship sound check.
Not because the moon followed me as I drove to church.
But because I felt desperate.
For several weeks, my heart's been burdened over two dear friends going through challenging life seasons. I think about them several times a day and pray for them often.
Easter morning, those friends crossed my mind once again. A few days prior, amidst the gloom of Good Friday, I had asked God: Are my prayers even making any difference? Why must their suffering be so great?
The proverbial angel perched on my right shoulder whispered, "God knows the purpose for their suffering. Trust Him." The devil lurking on my left shoulder hissed, "They're suffering for no apparent reason. God gets a kick out of that."
The battle took up residence in my mind and Good Friday gloom turned into gray Saturday desperation. I wanted to plant both feet, shake white-knuckled fists toward heaven, and yell at God from the depths of my soul, "JUST FIX IT!!"
But therein lies the problem. I'm a fixer. And I had determined that those loved ones had hurt enough. So I wanted it fixed. Now.
But I can't fix this. I can't stop their pain. I can't ease their suffering.
So I felt helpless. Desperate.
As the Easter service neared the end, these lyrics resounded throughout the sanctuary in musical grandeur:
He lives to silence all my fears; He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart; He lives all blessings to impart.
He lives, all glory to His name! He lives, my Savior, still the same;
What joy this blest assurance gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!
I could hardly sing for the lump in my throat. In that moment, God pierced my helpless Good Friday gloom with the reminder of His brilliant Easter assurance: We have a living Redeemer.
Not a stone idol with a vacant stare. A living, breathing Savior who cries when we cry.
I can't understand why my friends' pain is so great, but my Redeemer lives to wipe their tears. He's not forgotten them. He loves them more than I can possibly imagine. And He's certainly not allowing suffering just to watch them squirm.
It's not about what I do or don't do. It's about our Redeemer...
...who intercedes on their behalf before the Father.
...who sees the perfect plans He's created for both of them.
...who's already seeded the goodness that will grow lush, watered by their tears.
...who promises to mold their shards of brokenness into a breathtaking vessel of His glory.
Desperation creates seekers. Them and me. Sojourners seeking the face of God.
And there's healing in the seeking.
Those beautiful melodies of promised redemption hummed courage into my soul to keep praying. To stay the course and keep the faith.
So instead of feet planted, fists shaking, and mouth bellowing, I find myself on my knees.
Palms open toward heaven.
Whispering in amazement: Thank you, living Redeemer, for the suffering that makes us desperate for You.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)
Question: Have you ever felt desperate in prayer? How did God guide you through and answer those prayers?