By Randi Peck
“Bring it back around”: Mrs. Long offered me this wisdom regarding creative writing over a decade ago. Tie together the introduction and the conclusion. Wrap around the ending to the beginning. Bring your papers full circle. This is good literary advice. And I’ve used it often.
You see, one of my passions is sharing the stories of the lives around me. Each person has a testimony- a magnificent, unique window into God’s glory. Grace Enough, the Heritage women’s blog, has been a means by which I can express some of these stories. It is a privilege to “bring back around” the heartache and struggle of these women to how the Lord has worked it into beauty and strength! It has deepened my faith and encouraged my own heart, personally.
But this week my heart is heavy. This week, my heart aches with stories that I’m unable to “tie together”. It aches for dearly loved ones, whose introductions seem much rosier than conclusions. I aches to comfort and be comforted, as I watch their suffering, stacked one upon another.
I am helplessly burdened for friends whose marriages are in the midst of “or for worse”. I am grieved by bodies unhealed. Babies unborn. Families divided. Souls imprisoned.
To make these stories pretty or to pretend I know their outcomes- in this moment- would be a lie.
But God stepped into my lamenting thoughts. He reminded me, as He so faithfully and gently does, that even in the painful wondering of how these stories will turn out … there is a story I do know– by heart! There is a happy ending I can cling to. The Christian life is based entirely upon the gospel story- a true story- of the creation, fall, redemption, and restoration of mankind. This narrative offers certainty amidst mystery, it brings light in our darkness, and it gives eternal hope even in mortal sorrow.
In this weighty week of watching the weary, the book of Romans ministered deep comfort to me. For even as it humbly proclaims the mystery of our Maker- “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”- it also confidently asserts his mercy and justice. We can walk in this same confidence when we look to the Narrative grander than that of our own circumstances.
When we study this Great Story, we see the intricate design of God’s creation. We see the foolishness of man as he hurtled toward hell. We see the love of Christ as he stepped in and took the wrath of God for us. And we see the result of his sacrifice: victory over death, eternity with our Savior.
When we study this Story, we realize “the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). We understand that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). The Bible’s message does not make dark days disappear, but it does tell us how it will end (and this spoiler alert is one worth peeking at):
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more.” (Revelation 21: 3-4)
I wish I could sum up the trials of my loved ones as simply as I can tie together this article. I cannot tell them why their sickness prevails. I cannot explain why depression will not lift. I cannot express God’s specific plan in their suffering… But on those days when the table of contents are hazy for our own lives, we are reminded to turn to the Great Story. For in Christ, the script has already been written; “Happily-Ever-After” has been stamped with God’s own blood!