Recently I wrote about Being Stuck at the Empty Tomb, New Perspective hopelessly out of reach. Rarely have I gotten what I asked for so quickly. Maybe it was my utter devastation, my complete lack of direction. Maybe I was just empty enough to listen finally, to hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit tell me to open my Bible to the book of Romans. I did and what I found was perspective, the exact thing I was seeking. I don’t have easy answers but I have a new outlook, sometimes that is all it takes to start the day anew, to find the energy for a shower , to make lunch, to go smell the flowers.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” How many times have I heard that haunting call of Jesus at the cross, always considering the agony of Jesus dying to humanity, the burden of our meanness and judgments and horrible behavior requiring that he suffer the worst that we may experience the best? I haven’t ever stopped to imagine what God must have felt, to be separated from His Son in that moment. Yes, He knew the outcome, He knew how long it would last, but He also knew that in the deepest darkest moment when His child needed Him, He could only remain close but not fix it all, make it better, stop the destruction. I am horrified to realize that my sinfulness caused God to be separated, even for an instant, from His Son. I also realize that God fully understands the agony of an estranged parent. He gets that pain of one left alone while sin runs rampant and destroys the family. He knows the only way to restoration and redemption is to be rejoined with Him. All this time while I thought I was suffering alone, begging God to return these children to me, He was saying, “Lisa, I want them to come home to me as well.”
I was drawn to the book of Romans today and as scripture so often does, the words jumped off the screen to me, they were alive. I read the first chapter and was shocked to see that this new estrangement epidemic was not so new after all. Paul wrote about it: “They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way.” Romans 1:30 I have wondered how my Stella could reconcile such a hard heart with what is preached in church each Sunday, I know my Arrow has stepped far away from his Christian faith. Before either of them can be returned to me, they must return to God. After all, they were His first. His agony must be horrific, to see His children so far away from knowing Him, believing and trusting in Him. In my weakest moments, I thought God had left me in this misery, I missed that we were suffering together.
My new perspective changes nothing in my relationship with my children, or lack of one. What has altered though is my closeness with God. No longer battling with Him, feeling lost in questions about why spring can come again but not my daughter, I understand now that the flowers bloom and the birds chirp as we together look for hope that they too will see those and hear those and remember that He is the creator of all. As my daughter shows the buds of new life to her daughter, surely she is explaining about the God who delivers anew our second chances and forgives us. As my son prepares to welcome into the world his daughter, can there ever be a more spiritual moment than that? Surely they are facing opportunities to find Him again and then they can find me. Perspective, I see you.
I know now that my prayers are not that God might hear me, that He might see my pain and my worry and that He might bring about the change NOW!!! How many times have I moaned that I cannot go on? How many times have I called out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He has been with me all along, the separation only in my mind. No longer helpless or powerless, I am united with a mighty God who can bring these children home, home to Him. Restoration to the greater family of Christ, then to ours. Together then we will smell flowers and feed birds and laugh and go to church and praise a God who loves us enough to give us the hope of spring days during dark winter moments. Now I join with God to pray that they grab hold of the faith of their youth, that they turn back to Him.
My new perspective, not from a bottle or the store but waiting for me in scripture all along. Psalm 62 reminds me: 5Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. 6Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
Do you see the lilacs bursting on the bushes, the breeze bringing the sweetness of spring into every open window, filling our homes with soul lifting hope? Can you hear the songbirds, as they busily seek twigs and strings, preparing to build nests and lay eggs and carry on with life, fulfilling their purpose? We won’t be shaken today friends, if we stay steadfast in our unity in the Creator of all. My new perspective is quite an old one, sometimes I misplace it in the dark. Blessedly, God shines some light and doesn’t let me get too lost. I trust He will do the same for those I love.