Lately, my mind has been traveling back to days gone by and stories of yesterday, some good and some tragic. I am a story teller by nature and I love both the hearing and the telling of good stories. Stories that draw me into the picture and make me feel as if I am a part of what is going on take me to another place and, ever so briefly, allow me to burrow into the luggage and go on a trip to places I have never been.
My own life is filled with bittersweet moments of joy that bordered on ecstasy and moments of pain that took my breath away and threatened to crush me under their weight. Only by the hand of God's tender mercy and grace have I lived to “tell the story.” As any good story teller will tell you, it's important to answer the question, 'why' in the story. But, in reality, truth is stranger than fiction, sometimes harder and more evil than any of us would ever have imagined. In the end, I often cannot find the why.
An innocent, child, at the dawn of life, is abused or neglected, maybe even murdered - sometimes, by his/her own parents. Why? A young mother is diagnosed with an incurable disease and dies within months, no matter the prayers that everyone around her prayed for her healing. Why? A loving father driving home from working his second job is hit by a drunk driver and killed instantly. Why? Never even got a chance to say goodbye. A baby, much desired and prayed for, is born dead to the brokenhearted parents. Why? A sixteen year-old, innocently praying with her group before school one day, is savagely gunned down in the hallway on her way to class. Why? A single mom, desperately in need of her job, is “let go” suddenly, to “plump up the bottom line.” Too bad about the kids at home that won't understand why their mother can't afford to feed them anymore. Why? Why? Why...?
There are no easy answers to the pain we all experience to one degree or another as we try desperately to stay in the boat hurtling headlong over the rapids of a world gone wild. In my own life, I have unanswerable whys that have cut very deep and left their scars.
This week, I found myself in circumstances that have brought a lot of those questions to the forefront of my mind. Pictures in my mind I would rather erase. Memories I wish I never had. Losses I can never recover. Answers I don't expect to find, this side of heaven. Were do we go at times like these? Where do we run? Who is there that can comfort us in the midst of the wreck of our lives when it all catches up with us? There is only One and He is there with His arms holding on to us in the storm that threatens to throw us overboard. I “go to the Rock” and I hide in His sheltering arms until the winds settle down and the waters are calm again. He is the Only One who can get me through the memories, the pain, the losses, the heartache of evil that has had its way.
Today, after a week of facing some of the “unexplainable” but real evil I have rubbed up against in my own life, I found myself listening and weeping to the beautiful song, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story”. I could not contain my heartache at the pain of abuses I have witnessed and experienced first hand. And I knew... I knew that He was singing over me His unspeakable love in the midst of it all. It is ironic that it is the pain of His love that washed over me and brought me to my knees in worship. Maybe that's at least a partial answer to my whys. In them, I find Him...
“I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know 'tis true.
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story. Twill be my theme in glory...
To tell the old, old story, of Jesus and His love...”
“I Love To Tell The Story”
by Catherine Hankey, 1834-1911