“If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: ‘God with us.’ We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!”
It’s easy to talk about something hard that’s far behind us. The struggle, (that one, waaay back there), once paralyzing, but now safely in the blurry distance. So we say blurry, distant things about it. We exhale gratitude and relief for whatever it is we walked through. Climbed over. Defeated. We love and lean in for stories with redemptive endings. That was then, we say to each other, with fresh eyes toward the future. Those words come easily.
But it’s harder for our hearts to find words when we are in the very center of the fight. The right now of a crisis. It’s hard for our soul to find a song that sings clear and strong from a place of fear and trembling. We pace. And weep. And stare at our ceilings in the dark hours. We pray and pray and place our shaky, hopeful confidence up on the altar before a loving and patient God who knows that come midnight, we will sneak in and frantically snatch it back.
People who love us say things like “hang on” and “you’ve got this” and they are talking about this a season or this stretch of hard highway, but you assume they are talking about the next five minutes, which is all the hang on you’ve got.
You wonder if you will ever be the person on the other side, talking about what you’ve lived through. What you actually survived. You swear you’ll write songs or sonnets or checks to anyone who has the magic wand and can fix what seems unfixable, now.
But now is all you really have. And all you really need.
What does the sound of surviving really sound like? In real life? It is not the roar of warrior on a mountain top. It is not some chest thumping holler or victory lap. It is decidedly not a string of feel good phrases or clichéd comfort.
It is, so often, a small and lonely whisper into the darkness.
I’m still here.
It is the tiniest shimmer of belief that even in the valley of the shadow of death, you are not walking, or falling, or crawling alone.
I’m still here, you say to your body and the way it’s failing you.
I’m still here, you stay to the broken relationship, slipping away.
I’m still here, you say to your empty arms and to your agony.
I’m still here, you stay to your fear and to the unknown.
Just a whisper in the dark. And then a whisper back, from Love himself, (I’m here, too). This is the sound of surviving.
Thank you to my friends at Christian Quotes for the opportunity to write as a guest this week.
“My worth is what I am worth to God; and that is a marvelous great deal, for Christ died for me. Thus, incidentally, what gives to each of us His highest worth gives the same worth to everyone; in all that matters most are we equal.”