It won’t be the falls in life that destroy us; it will be the fear of falling again that keeps us from ever really living. Life is risky and messy and beautiful all at the same time. It is full of incredible joy and heart wrenching pain. Life is the beautiful juxtaposition of dark nights met with brilliant sunrises.
“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” -Hebrews 12:12
In John 11, there is a story that resonates with that beautiful juxtaposition. Let me set the scene for you; two of Jesus’s friends, Mary and Martha, begged Jesus to come and heal Lazarus, their brother. Lazarus was very sick, but by the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was dead. You see, it was by no accident that Jesus arrived when Lazarus was already dead. In John 11, it says when Jesus was told that Lazarus was sick, “He stayed where He was two more days.” Though Jesus doesn’t cause the pain in life, sometimes He let’s us go through it so that we grow. Most of the time it is in the “valley of the shadow of death” that we grow closest to Jesus. Kyle Idleman puts it this way: “Ironically it’s usually through tears that we begin to see Jesus most clearly.” One of my favorite phrases in all of Scripture comes from John 11: “Jesus wept.” Jesus felt the pain and sorrow with Mary and Martha in a moving way. In Mary and Martha’s darkest valley, Jesus was there to weep with them. When we are in some of the darkest valleys of our lives, Jesus is still there to weep with us as well.
I have to think that there was a moment though, in the midst of the weeping, that Jesus stood up, wiped His eyes, and looked to heaven. Scripture says that Jesus told them to open the tomb. As the stone was being rolled back, He prayed and then called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” Suddenly Lazarus, with linen cloth wrapped all around him, walked out of that tomb. With Jesus, no story ends with death. Though there will be a physical death for all of us one day, the story doesn’t end there for those who trust in Jesus. If you trust Him with the eternal, then you must be able to trust Him with the temporary. Though the circumstances may not change (He can and sometimes will change them), I can promise that He will use every broken and beautiful part of this story for your good and His glory.
It’s ok to weep over the things that didn’t go well in life. It’s ok to weep over the cancer diagnosis. It’s ok to weep over the betrayal of a friend. It’s ok to weep over the losses of life. After a while though, we must wipe our eyes, strengthen our knees, and stand again. Life is too precious to waste. Don’t waste the joy or the pain. Don’t waste the laughter or the tears. Don’t waste the morning sunrise or the night sky. Each of these have beauty: some are easier to spot, but all are saturated with it somewhere. We can either choose to live our lives in the pits or grab the hand of Jesus that is reaching out for us and stand again. Yes, you probably will fall a couple more times along the way, but it’s a risk we must take if we are to truly live.
When it’s all said and done, I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I had loved people better. I only get one shot at this; I better do it well. Yes, love is risky, and we will probably get burned a time or two, but don’t let that keep you from ever loving at all. Life and love go hand in hand. If you really want to live a life that means something, then you love. So weep a little over the broken pieces that shattered in your life, but then wipe your tears, strengthen your knees, and stand again. There is a whole world waiting to be loved by you. I think you will find that as you love people like Jesus, the pieces that once looked like a shattered mess begin to look like a mosaic. The broken pieces become a part of bigger, more beautiful story. You may be broken, but you don’t have to stay in shambles. You can be the beautiful kind of broken. You can be the mosaic that is filled with broken pieces to show a miraculous story. You can be beautifully broken.
This article was originally published by the blog “Grace Upon Grace”