Friday, March 27, 2020

He Still Wipes Tears, by Reina Cherry


20 years ago today, my 8-month-old niece, Emsley Keasler, was taken from this earth into the arms of God. "Was taken" feels more like snatched, stolen without any permission or consulting with us by the Almighty. Every year on March 27th, my chest aches, my stomach feels hollow, and fresh tears form in my eyes over this grave loss.


Remembering this terribly hard day (and the long season of grief that followed) connects me directly to the tragic losses that so many are experiencing today. As Good Morning America is on in the background, all I am hearing about is death and the fear of death. I am drawn to the medical personnel.   They are the ones on the front lines fighting all the death that seems to be looming in this season.

This week all our CH women’s studies have gone to ZOOM meetings probably for the remainder of our Spring studies. (SHAMELESS PLUG: if you want to join a study during the days of COVID-19, please go to http://www.coacheshonor.org/women-s-studies and give your email to the admin of whatever study you wish to join. you will then get an email each week with a ZOOM link for that study.)  What a gift it has been to get to "BE" with each other amid the social distancing…The reality is we are made for an authentic relationship with God and each other.  This has been brought to front and center in our days of isolation. Seeing each other on ZOOM has been a healing balm to the loneliness we are all feeling. We also have been made aware of how much FEAR we are all experiencing amidst this COVID-19 crisis.

Many of us as Christians have been taught that the opposite of faith is fear…NOTHING could be further from the truth…the opposite of faith (collapsing/depending on Jesus to rescue us) is self-reliance (trusting in ourselves to rescue us).  Our self-reliance leads to great fear because deep inside us, we know we are NOT enough for life outside the Garden for which we were created to live.

ENTER CORONA-VIRUS - which seems to be pouring Miracle-Gro on our FEAR. All our emotions are like lights on a dashboard. Thus, our feelings indicate we need help/compassion/comfort.

ENTER-JESUS - who meets us in all our emotions with His help, compassion, and comfort. God, in the Bible, never condemns us for our fears, but instead invites us to bring our fears to Him, and promises to meet us there. 

Exodus 34:6 (this verse is the first time in scripture where God describes Himself to man.) 


“And God passing in front of Moses, proclaiming, 
       I am the Lord, the Lord, 
the compassionate and gracious God, 
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 
maintaining love to thousands…”

Compassion means "to dwell with another to alleviate pain." In this season, where fear seems to be a most predominant emotion - we have ONE who dwells with us; His name is Immanuel. Thus, we are invited to be aware/authentic regarding our fears. If we don't acknowledge our fear/anxiety we become fretful - which literally means "a heart that is torn into pieces." But, in taking our fears to "gentle and humble," Jesus, we are met with His gracious compassion. He understands, like no other, our fears during this pandemic. Coming to Him with our real selves, He gives us fresh faith/wisdom to live in these days where the fear of the grave seems to be all-encompassing.  


ENTER EASTER - where in just a few weeks, we will celebrate Jesus' most poignant act of compassion. We pause with gratitude to remember the perfect life He lived and His righteousness that has been put into our accounts. We grieve, looking at the cross where He died for the deadliest of diseases, our sin. And, we celebrate His rising from the dead, where He actually conquered death from the grave! This is our only and real hope today and, in the days, to come.

Indeed, this is my hope today, 20 years later, when my precious little niece, Emsley, was taken into the loving arms of our dear Savior.






  

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