“The worst part of our suffering isn’t the suffering itself; it’s the wondering whether or not we will find ourselves after the dust has settled.”

Finding God In The Ruins: How God Redeems Pain

~by Matt Bays~

The cold slipped back in, riding on a fierce wind. Settles deep in my bones.

The full moon shines bright behind me. Jupiter sits close by. I pour a fresh cup of hot coffee, make my way back to the chair, look to see it has slipped beyond the trees.

Before me the edges of pink are just reaching the tips of the loblolly pines. A reminder of the God who goes before me and behind me.

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs this morning at 7:48am ET. Jupiter will be brighter than usual, the full moon will darken slightly. Appear dingy and soiled, as if it is mourning the unholy horrors of yesterday. A surprise attack that shakes us to our very core. Again.

I gave up news for Lent. Forgetting the settings on my phone, I receive news crawls across the screen. I trust this is the least invasive way to stay informed. I shiver when the alert goes off, wonder what in this broken world has happened now.

My pain fades a bit when it sits next to the spilling of innocent blood. Fades next to the agony of a young wife and mother of two, a third on the way, making plans to bury her husband.

Hope rises when a community of believers take a prayer walk; praying and walking straight through the community where he was shot down. The mother of the shooter sits on a nearby church pew and prays, on this her darkest of days. ~Link to this story below~

A moon appearing dingy and dirty behind me, Jupiter shining bright beside it, the edge of bright sunrise before me…it seems right somehow. Hope and light and darkness dance together above, beckoning, pointing us towards The Light. Calling out, reaching for us in the unholy dark.

Seems a fitting response smack in the middle of Holy Week. The orchestration of it all proof of a God who still sits on His throne.

Brings order in the chaos. Hope and life from the spilling of His blood on a wooden cross.

“There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not to recognize him, but all the more fascinatingly because of all that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly…touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” ~from Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner

Blood runs down a wooden cross. Day turns dark as night.

The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.

~Luke 23:45&46 NLT

Mere days later, hope comes in an empty tomb. Hope walks through darkness and the letting of blood. Death brings life.

There’s a rugged wooden cross in my wilderness place. Sits at the edge of our yard. Hammered and nailed by a precious man~child with a heart that loves.

My eyes are drawn towards it each time I gaze out. My heart follows. I often lean on it when I’m outside with our sweet Lola. It’s my remembering stone. A reminder of the cost for my ransomed soul.

A tangible thing, shows me to have faith in the unseen. To search for the Holy One in the unholy. In the dark. The hard.

We have to choose to move forward through the unholy. Strain toward The Holy. Hold tightly to the hope of salvation.

Choose faith in the unseen. Reach for grace in the compelling and haunting, in the common and the uncommon, the holy and the unholy.

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn

other places you may find me…