I was talking recently with a very special woman (“VSW”) the other day. I was telling her my hurt and the pain I am feeling for time that has been lost with my son. It is a very real, very physical pain but it is also a very real emotional pain. I have an incredible relationship with him and my time with him has meant so much to me. We talk. We laugh. We share food and stories and dreams. We had a routine every Thursday night for almost 4 years where we ate dinner at the same restaurant and spent time together. The routine of those Thursday nights became a part of what charged me up and edified me. A teenage boy who wanted to spend time with his dad. It was powerful.
Now it is all gone. I have missed those Thursday nights for 7 months now. I have missed so much of his last year in high school and in the town he has grown up in. Those things are very hard for me. This season of life has elicited tears and I am not afraid to say it has elicited bitter tears towards God. He has the power to change everything and he has not done that in this season of my life. The bitterness of the tears and some of my words to God during this season can be a little scary for a believer but I have held onto my faith and trust that God understands my pain and gives me grace while I wrestle with what I have lost.
Back to the conversation with the VSW. She talked about what she sees through her eyes. My dedication to coming back for his baseball games during the middle of the week. My dedication to spending time with him on the weekends he is still with me. She talked about lessons he is learning about doing what you have to do to support your kids/family even when it is very hard emotionally and physically. And spiritually. She talked about what he will learn and he will know as he grows as a man. Through her eyes, she sees a different story, a better story, a story of good. I admit, it is hard for me to see that story or appreciate it right now but as I think on her words, I do hope there has been something good coming from what has been very difficult for me.
She shared with me through her eyes and I still struggle with the truth of her words because of the pain. The bitter tears. Then, in my Bible reading, I came across Isaiah 38. King Hezekiah is dying and God tells him that he will die. Then scripture says this, “Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” He wept bitterly. Did you catch that? I sure did. God told Hezekiah he would die and Hezekiah wept bitterly. Wow! There is someone I can identify with.
So what did God do? It may be important to note that in the preceding chapter, there is a story about God sending an angel to kill 185,000 bad guys. God has the power to do some big things, good or bad. So, what did God do about Hezekiah? God granted him 15 extra years of life! He heard Hezekiah’s request, he saw Hezekiah weep bitter tears and because of Hezekiah’s heart for God, granted him 15 more years.
Oh Lord, forgive my bitter tears. Help me see my life more through her eyes than my own. Oh Lord, let me see my life through your eyes too. Speak to me Lord. Make you voice clear and my mind and heart open to hear.
Hezekiah, after being granted life, wrote this: Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. (Isaiah 38:17-19)
I do not want to go down into the pit. I want to live, to sing praises to God for deliverance, to gain his favor and the favor of men. I want to see life through her eyes and through God’s eyes. Surely this season has been for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. Now, I pray will all the fervor I can muster, that new life is right in front of me.
Grace and peace.