I lay awake in my bed, my mind full. Question after question. Tears fell, fears filled and I wondered. I started my prayers to Him:
My 23 year old best friend was buried. October 31, 2015. I think that warrants some questions.
My voice wavered and tear after tear came. Earlier that day I made the mistake of picking up the journal I have used over the last 2 years and reading through it- Prayer by prayer. Line by line. All the prayers I prayed for her. I felt like with each new line with each new word my heart cracked.
Lord, Breathe Your life giving breath into her that You breathed to Eve.
Protect her heart, her lungs, her kidneys, her liver. Let your spirit flow through her body and become a shield of protection around her.
Become Emmanuel to Ciera today- Not the noun, but the verb! Lord, Emmanuel!
Emmanuel! Be with her! Be present! Be active! Let us Know you’re here!
Lord i’m on my face today, We need you.
Lord, help us, help her. help. help.
Page by page covered with prayers. With tear stains.
The journal ends with her date of death.
October 26, 2015 6:02 pm, Ciera ran into the arms of Jesus.
And with the start of a new journal, new prayers have surfaced. Prayers turned to questions.. questions turned to heart ache.
Do You hear me? Are You even there? Do You care? Are You listening? Where are You?
Question after question. Tear after tear. I clutch my pillow and watch the burning candle above my bed frame.
Right now we are in a season of Advent- a season of actively waiting. Waiting in worship, waiting in longing, waiting in the mess of life for Him to come back and Emmanuel- and take us home with Him and make all things new…
And in the midst of this waiting, In the midst of my questions that sound more like accusations to outsiders, but in my heart they aren’t accusatory- instead they’re filled with anguish and heartbreak and restlessness.
If I pray do You hear me? Do You really pay attention? Are You there when I need You? Are You present? Can I trust You? You took her Home and I don’t understand. My constant prayer throughout the last 2 years in that journal has been for Your name to be glorified. Was it? I don’t see it. Where is Your glory? Is it present- even in the midst of such raw grief and heartache? Help me see it. Help me know.
It’s moments like these when the story of Lazarus resonates with me. I deeply identify with Mary as she runs up to Jesus in John 11:32 and says “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died!” I feel the urgency and the pressure in her voice. My heart breaks with her and I turn to Jesus and echo her heartache.
And as I echo her heartache I hear His response. Still. Small. Whisper. You have to really listen and I hear Him saying.
I know. I know. I’ve been there. I hurt. I’ve lost. I see. I hear. Hang onto Me. Keep on praying. You have been given the marvelous gift of intercessory prayer… keep on. Don’t give up. It feels like I didn’t get glory but I did. I have. I am, my child…I AM.
I hear him echo out His heartache. I hear His encouragement. I hold onto it by my fingernails. Sometimes I hold on not truly believing but truly wanting to. I hear Him tell me that He knows. He has lost- He’s been broken. He’s suffered. I think of the cross. I hear Him weeping with me through the dark nights and singing over me in the early mornings. I feel like a child in His lap with heart break in my hands… “Abba, help!”
He’s here. Even if I can’t see Him. Even when I don’t understand. He is Emmanuel. He waits and wades through our questions and is there on the other side. He’s patient. He knows. He’s here. Always.
So my question and plea is the same as last year- Emmanuel, Lord! Emmanuel! Be with us! Come with Us! Be Active in our grief! Be active in being with us and giving Glory to Yourself. Help us see You and worship You… and be our comfort.
Emmanuel, Lord! Emmanuel!