Thursday, November 3, 2011
Katie Davis' sweet writing has truly blessed me in ways I couldn't have imagined. At times, she gave words to my heart and helped me process my own story as I read hers. I pray that Jesus continues to teach our communities, as individuals and groups, to love desperately... with true and lasting faith. We can trust Him, because He has gone before us and taught us to love. God help us believe! Help us to fight for racial reconciliation! Help us to serve you without hesitation! Lord, give us Your eyes, Your ears, Your love, and Your grace to do the hard work of the Gospel... to see lasting change in relationships around us and around the world.
In the last portion of her book, Katie writes:
I believe there is only one truly courageous thing we can do with our lives: to love unconditionally. Absolutely, with all of ourselves, so much that it hurts, and then more.
I would like to say that as I become more and more surrounded with sorrow and destitution, it gets easier or less painful. But it doesn't. The brokenness of this world does not become any less sad. Each and every time, it is overwhelmingly devastating that people have to live, and die, like this--like my girls and I see happening around us. While it does not get easier, I have found that I am able to face each situation with a little more hope. I always hope my friends will live here on earth with me, but I tell them with a new sense of urgency about Jesus because mostly I want them to live with Him, experience His profound, unconditional love, whether here or in heaven. I see the sadness, but I also see the redemption.
I have learned along my journey that if I really want to follow Jesus, I will go to the hard places. Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow. We must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate joy. Joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it. After all, the murder had to take place before the resurrection.
I'll be honest: The hard places can seem unbearable. It's dark and it's scary, and even though I know God said He will never leave or forsake me, sometimes it's so dark that I just can't see Him. But then the most incredible thing happens: God takes me by the hand and walks me straight out of the hard place and into the beauty on the other side. He whispers to me to be thankful, that even this will be for His good.
It takes awhile sometimes, coming out of the dark place. Sometimes God and I come out into a desert and he has to carry me through that too. Sometimes I slip a lot on the way out and He has to keep coming back to get me. Always, on the other side is something beautiful, because He has used the hard place to increase my sense of urgency and to align my desires with His. I realize that it was there that He was closest to me, even in the times when I didn't see Him. I realize that the hard places are good because it is there that I gained more wisdom, and though with wisdom comes sorrow, on the other side of sorrow is joy. And a funny thing happens when I realize this: I want to go to the hard place again. Again and again and again.
So we go.