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No Pretending

I am one of those people whose hurt was blasted on a proverbial billboard. You know the type? When the greatest hurt you could ever imagine suddenly becomes public knowledge? It would do you no good to appear normal or unmoved in the grocery store when the eyes looking back at you are already searching for your reaction. They've already heard, whether you never say a word.

When it happened to me, I had a choice to make.

I could be bitter and try to run from it or I could look it in the eye and trust God to bring something good from the pain.

The ways the Lord has worked in our lives since the years we endured the hottest fires we ever hope to know shut our mouths. I could write until my fingers fall off and never reach the tip of His goodness. I dare not pretend, even now, to be normal or unmoved. I couldn't if I tried.

I cannot watch a little boy fly down the hallway wearing a cape and upside down sunglasses and act like I don't know it had to be God that ever let him breathe at all. I cannot listen to sisters bicker over the mundane and not get lost in silent praise because they have no idea what big crises are. There's no pretending I don't see the wonder in the way God has continued to build our family faithfully since we thought He just might methodically call every last one of our children back to Him before they ever made it to Kindergarten.

He owed us nothing but wrath.

He's shown us nothing but grace.

That grace compels me to keep talking when the enemy tries to shut my mouth. That grace gives me courage to keep walking when I want to turn and run for the hills. The sights seen, the pain endured, the lessons learned in those hard seasons serve as introductory courses to becoming more like Jesus in this hurting world.

We love the hurting differently when we ourselves have known pain.

When pain blindsides people I love, there is no pretending.

There is no pretending I do not remember what is to hurt. Oh how I do, but there is also no pretending I do not know how near God is to the brokenhearted. In those moments when nothing makes sense and adrenaline kicks in and compels us to do what needs to be done simply because it has to be done, He is there. He is the breath in our lungs. He's the strength to keep walking when we long to lie down. He gives us wisdom and directs our paths. He clears the way for us and promises to deliver us safely home.

Friend, if your hurt is on blast today, please remember. There is no pretending.

God alone will do the mending and He is near.

Somebody, somewhere needs to hear.

Psalm 139 leaves no wiggle room for the number of days we are to live in this world. When we are so caught up in the uncertainty, so burdened by the weight of responsibility that we are sure we will make the wrong choice and throw the whole thing off course, may we be reminded we cannot even pretend to be in charge here. God alone knows the number of our days and He alone was there when this old earth was formed.

Instead of trying to figure it all out or to numb ourselves with some temporary fix, we have a choice to make. We can choose to pretend or we can pray. We can ask God to remind us again and again of who He is and who we were never expected to be. We can watch His power be revealed in our weakness. We can see His arm swing as we bow to His will. Nobody loves us like He loves us and nobody can love others like He loves.

None of us escape this life unscathed or fully intact, whether hurts ever become visible or not, but one thing is true. He is coming again and He will make all things new.

Father God, we praise you that there is no pretending required with you.


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