My husband and I received news on Wednesday no homeowner should ever have to hear. While we were away, our house had been broken into. Because we were still out of town, we had to rely on the police, neighbors and family to let us know the status of our home. The information trickled in so slowly I felt helpless…trapped in the days of the Pony Express rather than the instant news flashes of the Information Age.
The moment we heard about the break in, a curious set of emotions swirled in both of us: fear, violation, grief. I kept reminding myself it was only stuff, but it was more than that. A home is your sanctuary, your refuge, a place of protection. The thought of someone invading that, even of police entering with guns drawn shattered my internal peace and tranquility.
Both of us handled the stress differently. Richard became crabby, short-tempered, guilt-ridden as if the break in was his fault. I expressed my stress differently. All I wanted to do was either eat or sleep. I walked around in a daze struggling to keep my eyes open. Heavy questions circled my brain: Would I feel safe again? Could my house feel like home again? How could I embrace this sense of violation and see some good come out of it?
I was at loose ends and I knew it. One afternoon, I laid in bed for over an hour without moving, except to breathe. For a while, my mind was blank. I worked feverously to keep it that way because if I didn’t, it would go to the one place I dreaded: hopelessness. Sometimes when we have doubts, we turn away from even facing ourselves.
Our God, however, never leaves us. As I skirted a loss of hope and the stagnation that came with it, that evening, Richard and I went to church. Just an ordinary weekend service, but this time, the speaker focused on the resurrection. At the risk of sounding blasé, nothing new; I had heard everything before. Still, God’s truth made my heart beat a little faster. On the third day, when hope seemed long gone, Jesus rose from the dead.
I imagined the tender words He spoke to His followers as they realized on the day, Jesus had undone sadness, disease and death itself. Compassionate words were what He was now speaking to me. I expected a healing, but instead, God invited Himself into my pain.
It isn’t easy to just let it go and I really haven’t yet. It is still too new, too close, too raw. But my pain reminds me that we Christians get to participate in daily deaths and resurrections. It’s part of becoming more like Jesus. Daily, I have to choose to lean into my pain, knowing there is a resurrection on the other side. The gift of faith means staying in the hurt and not occupying myself with busyness in an effort to erase the damage. Part of growing is learning how to grieve.
When I was at an all-time low, God entered my broken world . In a tangible way He whispered, “I love you,” so that even my wounded heart couldn’t deny His presence. 2 Samuel 22:33 tells us, It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
Tragedy will always be with us, as will fear, abandonment and injustice. Which is why I invite you, as you read these word, to open up your heart with me. Sit in the pain of not knowing how the ragged ends of your story finish. Let’s press into Jesus, so that one day we might understand how all the heartbreaking ends are tied up into a story more beautiful than we could ever imagine.
Because God will do what He always does. In some unexpected way, He will show up. Show up for me, and in your pain, show up for you. And when He does, we will walk with Him into a joyous resurrection. We are, after all Easter people, who understand safe isn’t a place you live at, but the Person you live in.