“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.” Isaiah 54:11
It’s the days that no one sees that are hard – the struggles that no one knows about. Once time elapses, people assume you’re fine. They think you’ve recovered, and all is well. You keep on going (because you have to), and you fix your hair and wear makeup, so people assume you’re okay. In some ways, you are. You don’t cry as often. You’ve adjusted to a new (yet exhausting) routine. But there are still days. Oh sister, there are still days. The days when your kids fight with each other and disobey you, and you no longer can shake your finger at them and say, “Just wait ‘til your dad gets home!” Now, you have no more overarching threat. When you have a rough day with them, there’s no looking ahead to the evening when relief comes in the door from work. Now, all you have to look forward to is their bedtime. When you have to make difficult decisions on your own or life is hard, there are tears, the ones no one knows about. Because life is still hard, there are still constant reminders that this is not the life you chose.
Some days, I feel like a two-year-old at the foot of the throne of God, pulling a fit, because this is not the way my life was supposed to look. I’m so grateful that, at these times, God is so patient with me and so merciful. In these hard moments, God gently reminds me of all the things I have to be thankful for. Even on the hardest days, there are still things to be grateful for. Sometimes, the sapphires sparkle a lot brighter when there’s darkness all around.
He knows your afflictions and is personally acquainted with your grief. He sees the tears and knows the pain you still feel because he carries them for you when the burden becomes too great. In fact, he loves us so much that he waged a war on the cross against death and Satan and sin. The promise of Easter that we eagerly look forward to is that he won. He didn’t just win a battle; he won the eternal war, defeating death and the power of Satan for all of time, so we know that our pain is not the end of our story. He will redeem it. He will restore you. He will take the broken pieces of your life and knit them back together, and it will be beautiful because everything he does is perfect. He won’t leave you battered and bruised; no, he “will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.” Sister, when he’s done with you, you won’t look like that figurine you’ve hot-glued back together 10 times after your kids have broken it. No, you will be sparkly, like a precious and beautiful gem. One day, you will look back and see beauty instead of dust. Until then, we trust that he’s working in the storms and he will see us through. There were things I prayed about in the early days after his death, things I begged God for. I can now look back and see how he’s already granted some of those heart-wrenching, tear-stained prayers, and say, “Yes, God. It hurt and it was hard, but you are so, so good to me, and I know you will be with me every step of the way because you already have been there in my darkest hour.”