July 23, 2017

He is Present at Midnight

     I remember the moment as if it were yesterday.  
......That moment when I found out my husband wasn't ever coming home.  The moment my life was forever changed.  I remember the feelings so vividly that I can almost reach out and touch them.  
I remember the deep grief I felt and I can still hear my loud cries ringing in my ears.  I can still feel the stomach ache I felt in the pit of my stomach when the reality swept over me like a wave tossing a ship out in the sea....."what am I going to do?"  

"I. Am. A. Widow."
These are kind of things you read in books.  The stories you see in movies.  The stories you hear on the news.  But this wasn't supposed to happen to me.  This wasn't supposed to touch MY life.  

As if I were exempt from life's heartache.  As if I got to opt-out of unexpected tragedy and grief and doing the hard things.  No.  I was now among them.

The night crept so quickly on us and the events of that evening were a blur.  I put my children to bed and opened my Bible.  I read Psalm 71 through whispered prayer.  I read over the tear-stained pages for what felt like hours.... "do not abandon me when my strength is failing.  God you have taught me from my youth.  Even still I declare Your wondrous works and miracles.  Even when I am old and gray....do not abandon me until I declare Your mighty strength to this generation. 

You will restore me to life again.  You will bring me up from depths of the earth."  

His Words were all I could speak that night.
HIS WORDS.  His Words that brought me life in the midst of death.  His Words that spoke HOPE to me when I was stripped of all that I knew.  His Words that spoke a FUTURE to me when the future that I thought I knew was no longer an option.  HIS WORDS SPOKE PEACE. 

    I laid down sometime in the dark hours of the morning but sleep eluded me.  Throughout the night a friend sent scripture after scripture.  She stayed awake with me....texting me.....HIS WORDS. 
Then I saw Him. At the foot of my bed.  I knew it was Him.....a vision of Him....a dream, maybe, but it was MY REALITY.  He was there.  He whispered so lovingly and so assuringly....."Why are you looking for the living among the dead.  He is not here."


He is not here.
He will never be here again.

But I didn't argue. 
Jesus' words brought peace in the midst of my blackest night.  
He. Is. Not. Here.
He is HOME.  
I had visions of my husband in Heaven, worshipping.  
Worshipping was one of the things he most loved to do.  My tumultuous heart was suddenly brought to rest.  
In spite of my world spinning around me, the chaos of the moment, there was this stillness.  This peace.  This comfort.  This PRESENCE........a presence that never left my side.  He was so present and His presence was SO evident.  
Weeping with me, nudging me to keep moving, holding me when I just needed to be held.

  "This is what it means to be held when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive.  This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was that when everything fell we'd be held"-Natalie Grant
My husband played that song often.....and to this day I know it was for ME.  To remember those words in this moment and know that I would be HELD when my world crumbled around me.  That were would be something to stand on when the earth fell beneath my feet.  I would be held.  

I have never been more sure of the Sovereignty of God than I was in that moment.  (and even still) because when the darkness seemed as if it were going to swallow me whole, it was when I saw Him shine the brightest.  When the noise was deafening....the noise of  all of the questions....the fears.....the doubt.....HIS voice was louder.  His arms were stronger.  
This is what I learned that night.....
He is PRESENT at midnight.
He is in the MIDST of your storm.  
There is no night so dark that you can't find Him there.  
He was already there, waiting to be what I needed Him to be for me there.  

This is my story.....this is MY God.
In my distress [when I seemed surrounded] I called upon the Lord
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry for help came before Him, into His very ears. 
He made MY darkness His hiding place. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.  My God turns my darkness into light.
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.  He trains my hands for battle. Your right hand sustains me.  Psalm 18