I have walked through the losses and blessings of the past few years with less than a graceful step. My initial reaction to Sam’s diagnosis, the greatest of these losses, was to cuss out God. I’m not kidding. I got in the car, held my belly, and screamed bloody murder at him for taking my son so violently from me, words that I cannot repeat. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you that. Maybe you shouldn’t know how bound for hell my heart is, in my humanity. Or maybe you should because, Reader, you need to see how I’ve stumbled and crawled along the path set before me… to see that in order to come from where I started, there had to be a miracle… a heart miracle… to come to the point I’ve reached this morning. It is not a point of arrival. I will not be there until I get to heaven and, with these eyes, see God. Not a point of arrival, but a point of surrender.
I need to write it down to stab this flag into the ground, before my dusty, journeying feet, in this beautiful, aweful Valley. The flag is one of both surrender and triumph. I am staking my claim. This is my life. This is my faith. This is my path. No one may have it, not the Enemy, not the world, not riches or health or recognition. No one may have it but the One who made me and formed this path before me. I do not understand Him. I do not understand His ways. But this place, this Holy Ground upon which I stake my claim, He may have it.
He has put His hand over my heart, as a protection, in the days that followed Sam’s death. Even after Ezra was born, my blessing baby, my prayers were silent. I was afraid of Him. I am still, really. How do I trust a God who so easily devastates me? How do I entrust him with my needs, my hopes? He put His hand over my heart and guarded it in my angry silence because He is patience. And then, recently, He began to hold His hand a little heavier over my heart. Gentle pressure. I have been granted gracious silence for some time, and now it is time to speak. He has asked me what I will choose, as we have come to a crossroads.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. This is what I choose.
It is not all better now. I still live in a broken world. My son’s lifeless body is buried in the grave still. Still, my losses have not been answered, and I do not understand why. But I have come to a new heart understanding of the Psalmist’s proclamation, Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
I have seen where unyielding bitterness takes a person. And I have seen where faith in God takes a person. I am terrified of God. Terrified. He allows things to happen, for the sake of the bigger story (the Kingdom), and I am devastated before Him. But this life is better. It is better to sing God’s praises. It is better to be a doorkeeper, to remain in His presence, in His steady home, than to take my tent where I can control the placement of my tent stakes. Better is one day in Your courts.