Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Little Blue Pillow

Tears stained the little blue pillow on my couch. The outlines of tears past and tears present created a jumbled up blob of sad stories.

Some tears came from grieving with friends who had lost loved ones. Some were cried out during prayers begging God for the salvation of my lost friends. Many tears came from being hurt, or facing my own regrets and failures. And some tears came from nights where my heart felt as if it was being ripped out of my chest from heartache.  

That little blue pillow has had its fair share of tears. When I’m sad, or afraid, or just plain bleh, it’s all I can do to squeeze that little blue pillow as tight as I can and somehow find the ability to release whatever emotion is welling up inside of me.

Ecclesiastes says that there is “a time to laugh, and a time to cry.” For most of my life, I’ve experienced seasons of laughter and joy. But sometimes the Lord allows us to go through seasons of sadness.

Months ago, I clung to my little blue pillow as I wept after hearing the news that my dear friend’s mother had lost a long fight with breast cancer. My heart ached for her and questions swarmed through my mind. Why, God? How? What now?

I received a message from another friend who is volunteering in Africa about the conditions there. Thousands of children roam the streets, begging for money. Women and infants are dying in labor due to the lack of medical knowledge and equipment. Again, I wept over the sad conditions that so much of the world faces every day. Why, God? How? What now?

Recently, I said goodbye to one of the best friends I’ve ever known and cried and cried until I woke up the next morning. The loss was too much to bear. Again, I asked the Lord the same questions. Why? How? What now?

Though my questions were unanswered, I knew that God hears the cries of his children and he won’t turn a deaf ear to them.

Sometimes we think we must have done something wrong if we are going through a season of sadness. If we’re following God, we should be happy, right? Or could it be that the thousands of tears that were spilled onto my little blue pillow could be watering a seed that will one day turn into a beautiful flower?

Maybe God allows us to go through trials and hard times, not to punish us, but to increase our dependence on him and strengthen us. Maybe he burdens our souls in order to pray for his people and to spur us into action. Maybe if life was all butterflies and rainbows, we wouldn’t understand our need for Jesus.

Scripture is filled with God’s promises for the heavy-hearted:
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”    1 Peter 5:10
 “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy” Psalm 126:5
 “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Look at these amazing promises that spring forth after a season of trouble and sadness: He saves us, He sustains us, He will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. And we.will.reap.with.JOY!

As I’m nearing the end of my twenties, I think I have a more realistic view of life. I recognize that there are many troubles. People will always disappoint and let you down. The world is filled with evil and horrible things happen. We lose loved ones. We experience heart-break. But there is no problem that God does not care about. There is no tear that has stained my little blue pillow that the Lord has not seen.

He sees us. He weeps with us. Sadness is a reality; How we respond to it is a choice. Will you cast your burdens on the Lord? Only He can mend our broken hearts.