The images that flashed before my eyes were vastly different than the ones from the day before. In fact my phone was fairly bursting, filled to overflowing with pictorial recaps of our time in Manchester. Laughing fun memories that now seemed obsolete in the face of horrendous terrorist activities.
We had missed the attacks by just a few hours. A fact that hit my mama heart like none other. But somehow we were protected. Sheltered. Sent on our merry way completely oblivious to the evil we were leaving behind.
As I watched the footage unfold, my heart ached for the mothers and fathers who were just now being told their children were missing or injured, a sadness that pulsated and pounded with the reality that played before my eyes. Lives now statistics. Glaring evidence of sin and hate.
The videos and pictures splashed across the screens like it was just another news day. Bright colors. Penetrating headlines. Clipped conversations. All without much emotion or fanfare.
And as they did, the piercing words of Jesus came to mind. “In this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Cheer? Really? At a time like this?
For joy in the midst of trials can feel like such a contradiction. Like putting on a brave face in a world that is clearly lacking all the ingredients to conjure up its own peace.
But that’s where my earthly understanding needs to take a backseat.
In my head I know the ultimate victory has been won. That the grave couldn’t hold Him. That death did not (and will not) have the final say. My brain knows the good news – that Jesus is coming again, and all the wrongs in this hurting world will be made right in the end.
But what about NOW? What about the current headlines and agonizing heartaches? What about the present pain? Those now grieving the loss of their family and friends?
And how in the world do I explain such atrocities to my children? My stomach cringes and curdles every time I think about it.
This is something I cannot explain away. I can’t even pretend I understand the whys or know all the answers to the questions regarding such senseless sorrow.
But I do know we can trust the heart that holds it all. The One who knit us together and knows our souls better than we know our own.
For we serve a sovereign God. A God with a sovereign purpose and a sovereign plan.
And He says that when we go through deep waters, He will be there with us. (Isaiah 43:2)
That all things will work together for our good. Maybe just not in our timetable. (Romans 8:28)
That we can persevere through the pain because of His promises. And if we start to forget, we can look back at those who have gone before us. (Hebrews 11)
And although I may not have any bright cheery encouragement to offer in the midst of such heartache, what I can offer us is this: A remembering of His pain … so that we, the guilty, the underserving, the sin-filled, might be brought into relationship with Him. The pure One. The spotless Lamb. The Rescuer of hearts and Shepherd of souls.
So even when it doesn’t make sense, and our children ask those hard agonizing questions, we can take all the mixed-up hurt and pain and sadness and bring it to Him. Trusting His heart. Trusting His timing. Trusting that He has it all under control. Even when everything around us seems out of control.
And it is there, next to His heart, that we’ll find it. Peace. Not like the world wants to dish out. But the kind that only our Savior can give. An earth-shattering, reality-defying, soul-satisfying kind of peace.