“Broken hearted one, Jesus Christ knows all your troubles, for similar troubles were His portion too.” -Charles Spurgeon
The middle of May was hard.
Though the spring sun was shining its way into summer, clouds were rolling into my heart and the horrible, unwelcome darkness of the depression I thought was conquered slithered into my soul.
The following is a raw and bitter-but-trying-to-preach-and-believe-truth journal entry from May 25. Maybe someone else needs to be reminded, as did I, that there is One who will never change His mind about us.
“For the Lord will not forsake His people;
He will not abandon His heritage…”
Lately I’ve been swept up in lots of emotions. I don’t think I’ve allowed myself to grieve any of the losses of the last few years, particularly the relational ones of the last 12 months. What’s the point? Life happens and you have to just do the next thing. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Just the next thing and then the next. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time, one breath in, one breath out. But the last week I’ve been hit with grief. I guess it’s grief. Maybe it’s just self-pity. I’m fighting the sadness that spills out my eyes at night these days and I’ve felt another layer of cynicism and distrust harden around my heart like lava after an erupted volcano.
I hate that I’m hurting. I hate that I allowed myself to be hurt. I hate that I put myself in positions where manipulation, vulnerability, and all this pain could flourish and grow like Bermuda grass.
But we need people, so I’m told. And so I know. And sometimes you let people into your broken world and in doing so you take the risk that they might break you even more.
And sometimes they do.
They leave you not better but more shattered than before and they don’t care.
They only seem to care about their own lives and needs and desires.
So they go on in pursuit of something and someone better, someone less needy, wordy, and broken.
Who wants brokenness?
My soul has found a home in these two words over the last couple weeks: Jesus stays.
The grass withers,
the flower fades,
people will come,
people will leave:
The mountains may fall,
the hills be removed,
the heart may be busted in a million pieces:
Your dreams may sleep,
your body break,
your life go dark:
And He is better.
Better than everyone staying.
Better than ideal circumstances.
Better than fulfilled longings.
He is the stability of our times (Isaiah 33:5-6).
He is the strength of His people (Psalm 28:8).
He is the peace that passes all understanding (Ephesians 2:14).
He is comfort to the broken,
security to the vulnerable,
a voice for the oppressed,
the healer of every kind of broken heart.
He carries us,
our source of joy.
He is the Sovereign,
the True and Better Jonathan.
He is the One who holds our hands,
guides our souls,
and promises to never leave or forsake us.
When all around my soul gives way,
when all around people leave,
when all around my heart feels squeezed by the throbbing sense of rejection, pain, and trauma,
when all around people flee:
Though He could have come down from the cross, Jesus stayed, ensuring that He will always stay with us, come what may. He will never abandon His post or His bride.
The day after this was penned, I went to Memphis to spend Memorial Day weekend with one of my best friends, her wonderful fiancé, and their amazing church family. In extraordinary ways, God used them to speak light into the hovering darkness, truth into lies, and safety into fear. God used people to prove to my stubborn heart that not only does Jesus stay, but sometimes humans do too. What a patient Savior.
In addition to friendships like those, Zack Eswine’s Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression was instrumental in helping navigate the white-capped waters of unexpected darkness and fixing these eyes on the Master of the seas.
“The anvil, the fire, and the hammer, are the making of us; we do not get fashioned much by anything else. That heavy hammer falling on us helps to shape us; therefore let affliction and trouble and trial come.” -Charles Spurgeon
He is worthy. He is good. He is kind. Always.
In the bleakest darkness or the most shimmering daylight: Jesus stays. And His presence is our hope and security now and forever. Therefore, let us lay aside every weight and sin that so easily entangles and forge ahead, knowing who led us here, who will bring us through, and who this life is for to begin with.