Saturday, November 19, 2016

Wander Wisely

"Wander Wisely"

As I waited for the online transaction to go through, these words came up on the screen.  And my mind quickly did wander, to how the words apply to my own personal life.

Ever walk away from what you’ve known to be true?  And at what price?  How much did it cost you to wander off?  There’s always a price, you know.
I once strayed so far, I wondered if and how God would ever reach me.  I was wearied by my own fleshly desires and ambitions, and found myself lost.  And it cost me my peace of mind and even relationships. But how lost can a child of God ever really be?  For ultimately, God always calls us back to Him. And whatever the cost, He covers it with grace. That is the beauty of knowing God as our savior. Remember when God called on Adam to show his face?  Did not God know exactly where Adam and Eve stood, in their shameful wandering?  And still He covered them with grace.

It's ironic that we tend to wander, when so much of the Bible relays a message about staying the course and persevering. There's so much reference to following and trusting God's lead. It says He knows my comings and goings. He knows when I sit and when I stand. As the shepherd leads and I shall not want, and how He lays my paths straight. How He'll make my feet as swift as deer, and how He goes before me laying out the path I should go.

And still I'm prone to wander, unsure of what lies ahead. Looking and turning to other possible ways to achieve what I know is to be fulfilled. My strength fails me, and I cave in. And in the overwhelming demands of this life, I succumb to a whirlwind of wonder, which leads to worry. Because the way I see it, nothing truly makes sense or ends well.

That's the way I see it, in my wandering.

Do you ever deviate? You're meant to go one way, but find yourself enticed and admiring the scenic route? There's beauty to behold. That's why I love road trips. My husband knows, and we both enjoy the back roads. The main roads don't offer as much to see as what you can see on those long, winding, and unpredictable back roads. Perhaps the main roads aren't meant to offer much distractions, so that you can arrive at your destination more promptly, more directly, or more easily. And for someone like me, that works just fine sometimes. But other times, I'm more interested in what I might be missing out on. What cool sights am I missing on those other routes? What is even more cool though, is how those winding side roads often lead us back to the main road. And although we wandered off a bit, we come back to the road that gets us to where we are going.

Isn't that how our earthly Christian walk looks like most of the time? We know where we are supposed to be heading. We know what route leads us there. And still we choose the alternatives. Still we deviate. But God calls us to fix our eyes on Him, on the ultimate prize of meeting Him face to face. Stay the course. Persevere. Trust. Fix eyes on Him. And do not wander.

Yet, should you wander,... I can't help but think of Peter and his relationship with Jesus. I love reading about how after Jesus' resurrection, when Peter was most likely mourning and feeling shameful for having betrayed his friend and teacher, the Bible cites that Jesus tells Mary to "go and tell the others... and Peter" (Matthew 16:7). You see although Peter had wandered, Jesus sought him out. Jesus called Peter back to Himself. That's precisely what God does with us. In our wandering, He calls us to Himself. So when you wander, which more likely than not, you will, wander wisely.

Let your wander always lead you back to knowing God is still the one leading the way. When you're done looking elsewhere, find yourself in Him. When you find yourself craving for those side roads and back roads with the pretty sights, finalize your desires to be fully fulfilled only when you're walking in Him. When your hand is extended before you to a shepherd that leads you, may that be your posture, even in your wander.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I'm a Fighter

I never actually described myself this way, but today the description sort of fits well.  I'm a fighter.  I grew up fighting.  Some people may call it strong willed, but I was stubborn and feisty.   I'd fight my siblings, I'd fight my daddy, and I'd fight myself.  Resisting most new things, habitually reevaluating situations, finding difficulty in settling for contentment, I'd struggle to find a healthy balance for my emotions.  The thing about fighting is that it doesn't allow you much room for rest.  So you are restless.  Ever try to to counsel a restless soul?  It's severely difficult.  

And so, many of us are constantly fighting.  Fighting others for our happiness. Fighting to have our voices heard and our rights acknowledged.  Even fighting to be loved, appreciated, and valued; feeling depleted when we don't get what we so fervently have fought for.

Then of course, there are some of us who continually find ourselves with arms in position to battle with our own selves.  What a futile thing! Yet, my number one enemy has always been me.  There's that critical voice I hear in my ear pretty much in every situation. "You'll never make it."  "You're not fit for this."  "You're not strong enough." And most times, if I'm honest, I lose the battle; finding myself succumbed to the accusations that hold me back from anything good and worthwhile.  

All this talk of fighting reminds me that most of the time, our energies are wasted on the wrong battles.  Even more, sadly, we're wrestling with the wrong enemy.  Today I was reminded, when I lashed out so quickly.  It's like an immediate response.  A defense mechanism.  Why are we so prone to quickly defend ourselves?  Is it based on pride, fear, anger?  Whatever it is that leads us to quickly go into battle, I was reminded of those powerful words written by the apostle Paul, found in the book of Ephesians 6. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood..."  The fact is that I am in a constant spiritual battle, and it's not necessarily against the ones I'm fighting with.  

On the surface, it seems the world is against me.  So I resist and I attack when I feel disrespected or devalued. But I lose every time because my real struggle is spiritual and the real culprit is not the man I wake up next to or the woman I face in the mirror every morning.  It isn't my children, although you'd think it so based on our daily encounters sometimes.  I often wonder, "if flies could talk..."  If only those nasty flies on the walls could speak, they'd prove to be excellent character witnesses!  And so we waste our breaths and lose sound sleep because we are angry with the very people we love.  Because we've been let down or disappointed.  And all the while, Satan the real culprit, watches us drift apart from one another, as we attack and defend.  All the while, we fail to detect his schemes and his tactics.  As long as we are fighting one another, he gets to do his job, which is solely to destroy.

So today, I'm calling him out.  Today I know I'm fighting.  Better yet, I know who I'm fighting against.  So I will turn away anger with love.  I will extinguish wrath with a gentle response. I will be slow to speak and quick to listen.  I will choose mercy and grace over getting my own way.  Because ultimately, these are the things that my enemy is fighting me for.  These are the things that make him cringe.  And these things he wants to destroy.  

I'm a fighter, and I'm gearing up for today's battle.  However, I will not solely depend on my good intentions. Those will only get me so far.  I will continually depend on the one who's already conquered. I will depend on God's grace for the day, and I will trust that He will be my strength, shield, and armor.  He makes me strong enough to join the fight, and He alone, makes me victorious.  

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Best Advice Ever

Are you in need of a good word of advice?  I certainly have been lately.  Yet, the other day, I got what I believe was the worst advice ever. I was feeling low in the slums when someone told me, "Try not to sulk too much."  I almost chuckled at the message.  Try not to sulk too much?  Really?  Is that best you've got?!  I mean that's just as bad as telling someone who's having overeating issues, "try not to eat too much", or someone who has a drinking problem, "try not to drink too much."  So I was taken back by the words, and decided that I would do a better job at giving myself some sound advice.  I looked into the word of God and found a message that cut to the bone and still gave me the assurance I needed, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8.  Now that was sound advice for a needy soul! 

You see, I've been struggling.   Like many do.  Struggling with thoughts.  Scary thoughts, in fact.  Thoughts of fears and concerns, about things that I cannot control.  And the thoughts lead to worry.  And so I worry.  About things that are out of my control.  And then I want to fix things.  I want to change things.  Out of my concern and worry, I want to make things right.  I want to help.  I want to put things in order and in the right perspective.  But then I'm bogged down by burden. The burden of fixing things; everything.  And so I walk around feeling heavy laden because I'm carrying the burdens of all of those things that I cannot do much about.  It's like a rapid domino effect.  It spirals out of control.  And it all started with thoughts.  Just thoughts.  Thoughts.  Do you have any?

In the Bible we find so many references with regards to our thought life.  It's not surprising, in fact.  Because our thoughts truly determine how we live and reflect who we are.  Ever heard of the phrase, "you are what you eat"?  Yeah, well, the truth is that you are what you choose to dwell on.  You see, thoughts are left powerless, until we dwell on them, which in turn, empowers them.  It's no wonder, the Bible urges to "Fix your mind on things from above, not on earthly things" Colossians 3:2.  Another convicting reminder is found in, Isaiah 26:3, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."  Here's one of my new favorites, "and we take captive every thought to  make it obedient to Christ" 2 Corinthians 10:5b. 

But how do we make this a practical application in our personal lives?  My friend would often say, "Pray for me; my mind is in the gutter!"  And I'd sometimes wonder exactly what she meant.  I could only imagine, but I knew that it wasn't good.  Yet, because I could relate, I knew that she was referring to the battlefield in our minds.  Because, indeed, any follower of Christ, if honest, would have to admit to not always having righteous thoughts.  If we took a flight into one another's minds, I'm afraid, we'd quickly learn to skydive just to come out of that turbulence.  In fact, at times we are so overwhelmed by ungodly thoughts that we feel depleted.  Maybe defeated and stuck.  I know I've been there too many times. I've fallen victim to negative thoughts, blindsided by self-accusing contemplations. The mind can be a fragile thing, and still it is a centerpiece to what makes us who we are.  And so when we behave irrationally, or lash out, or become worrisome, bitter, angry, lonely, etc., we can usually find that these depleting emotions and actions originate in our minds.  

But there is a bright side to this ongoing spiritual dilemma. There is a hope to be found.  You see, those thoughts will come, at times uninvited.  But we do not have to welcome them in and make them feel at home.  Actually, we have the ability to leave them right at the door of our minds, and instead, replace unruly, negative, or self-defeating thoughts with God-given truths. There is so much power in the word of God, and still so much of it is left untouched.  And Satan knows that.  So he does a good job at keeping us from God's word.  And our minds, are his target, and our minds can easily become his playing field.  You see, Satan wants us to think that our thoughts govern us and that we do not have control over them.  He wants us to feel helpless and incapable of truly living a life that honors God and brings us joy.  And he brings on the distractions simply to keep us from becoming empowered by the word of God.  

The word of God is our fuel.  It is our refreshment and bread of life.  It is our light and compass. It empowers us to do the things that are humanly impossible. And while our thought life may consist crippling ideas or enslaving lies, the word of God is so filled with truths.   Truths that define our identity in Christ.   Truths that equip us to do what is right.  Truths that liberate and free us!  Therefore, I leave you with this, the best advice I can give you.  The same advice I gave myself the other day.  Open up the word of God, and maybe start with...  "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

To Save a Life

Have you ever saved someone life?  Have you ever gone out of your way for the benefit of someone else?  To the point of being hurt? I can't help but think about the time when I nearly dropped my infant onto the concrete pavement entrance to Walmart.  Let me set the stage for you.  It was years ago, and he was about 6 months old.  I had him in arms because he wouldn't stay in the stroller.  I was walking toward the entrance, while my older son pushed the empty stroller, when all of a sudden my oldest pushes the stroller in front of me, and I trip over it.  As if in slow motion, I remember falling forward with baby in hands.  I stretched out my body as far out as I could, while simultaneously doing everything I could to tighten the grip I hand on the baby.  I landed flat on the ground, and with hands stretched out, I managed to still have the baby boy in hands.  You see the picture above? That was me.  Or so it seemed.

As I laid there flat on the ground, I could sense how tense and stiff my body felt, as I had purposefully stretched out every ligament and muscle to assure that I keep my baby from hitting the ground.  Someone took note of me, and removed the baby from my hands so that I could get back up.  The tension, which lead to soreness in my body, lasted for days.  I think I had a bruises on my arms.  But it was so worth it!  I mean it was either I suffered temporary pain, or my baby would have faced long term repercussions.  I'd like to think that I saved my son's life that day.

But enough about me.  There is something about saving someone's life.  Have you ever done something that changed someone's life course?  In this life with so many daily interactions and dealings, I'm positive there's been many times that my life was saved.  Though it's not easy to admit, years ago I wrote a suicide letter to my loved ones.  I was very very low.  And looking back, I can't really pinpoint what lead to this low point, just that I was depressed every day.  But I remember that as I got to the part of the letter, when I addressed my mother, I broke down.  And I couldn't get my words on the paper.  I couldn't fathom causing her that much pain.  She, of all people, didn't deserve it.  I mean she once almost lost her own life trying to save another.  She lost her sister as a teenager to drowning.  My mom jumped into deep waters to save her from drowning.  And in her failed attempt, almost lost her own life.  With all of that in mind, I couldn't put down on paper that sort of life's good-bye.  And with that, God intervened, and I began to walk back into my beautiful life and away from ugly depression.  I guess in a sense, my mom saved my life that day as well.

So how much does it take to save a life?  I know as I think about my little boy, now quickly becoming a man, I wish I could still dive in and save him from the bumps and bruises this life brings.  I wish I could cover his ears from the harshness and hardness of people in this world.  I wish I could keep him steady, as he walks the hard roads of this life.  I wish I could hold him in place, when life is at a whirlwind.  But I can't.  There are some things that we simply cannot spare others from.  Things that we cannot spare ourselves from because life is hard.

Last year on a trip to Mexico, I saw two little boys at an orphanage.  I watched from a short distance as they entertained each other, playing with some kind of game that consisted of what looked like bottle caps.  As I looked around their "home", I could not spot any other toys or things for them to have some fun with.  The hallways were empty and the walls were bare.  And I stared.   As they played, I contemplated. What was the purpose of my being there, other than to become aware of how they lived?  I wanted to take them home with me.  My thoughts raced within my mind, as I schemed on what it would take for me to give these boys a better life.  Maybe no one would notice if I snuck them out with me.  I'd give them a better life for sure.  I'd give them love and care, and I'd save their life.  And still that day, I walked away from that boy's home, empty-handed.  There wasn't much else that I could do than to bless the ministry with funds for the children to be able to have an outing.  And although it felt good to bless them this way, I felt broken that I couldn't do more.

So much for saving a life!  In my lifetime I've witnessed my share of  people needing to be saved.   The indigenous woman,  obviously abused, living off a landfill, without a name, just a face that I will never forget.  Or the little preschooler who took me into her orphanage bedroom to show me her dolls.  Then there's the man in the business suit, walking out of Wawa in his daily rush, too consumed within himself to notice that I smiled as I held the door for him.  He too, needed to be saved.  And although I think I've made small impacts, I always come back short-handed because there's only so much I can do.  Because there are some real needs in this life, that only a real savior can meet.

While I can give you encouragement, only God can strengthen you.  I can give you food, but only God truly satisfies.  I can lend a hand, but God will hold you in His.  I can sit and listen to you, but God is constantly near.  I can comfort you, but God brings a steady peace.  I can do a lot of things, and I plan to.  But God can do the impossible.  And so as I ponder on all the needs that seem to weigh heavy in my mind and heart today-- as I struggle with all of the burdens and cares of this world and how it affects those near and dear to me, I trust God as the savior.  The savior of the world.    And I plead with Him on your behalf.  "Please, Father God, save a  life today."

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that all who believe shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Pro Life

I awoke in the middle of the night thinking of this title and what it personally means to me right now.  I'm using a play on words when I say I'm pro life.  Don't get me wrong, I am totally pro-life in the true sense of the word.  But today I'm using the words to depict the urgency in living a life with purpose.  I listened as my daughter read to me from the book, "Pollyanna". And although I dozed off a couple of times, she did get my full attention when she read the exchange of words between Pollyanna and her aunt Ms. Polly, “Oh, of course I'd be BREATHING all the time I was doing those things, Aunt Polly, but I wouldn't be living. You breathe all the time you're asleep, but you aren't living. I mean living—doing the things” “Just breathing isn't living!” ― Eleanor H. PorterPollyanna

The words resonated with me, especially since it was on the day that I got the news about the passing of the hospice care client I was volunteering for.  I was feeling like I had let him down because, although I planned on visiting with him and developing a relationship, our time ran out way faster than I had hoped.  He had brain cancer and was given up to six months to live.  So I was counting on those six months, which turned into a month and a half!  So I was sort of grieving.  Grieving that he passed without any relatives to truly mourn for him.  And grieving that I had an opportunity to be there for him but wasn't proactive enough with it.  My time ran out.  Wish I had known!  

And I became reflective.  About life.  About purpose.  About living with purpose.  And I made some phone calls, wrote down some words, sent out some messages, all to contact and encourage several people I know could use it.  I thought of those I know are really struggling right now.  And I thought of those  who are counting on me.  I also thought of those who would appreciate to hear from me, since it's been awhile since we've talked.  And I got to work.  Because simply breathing isn't living.  Because time has not entirely run out for me.  I'm still alive and able to make a difference.  I prepared a bag with clothes for the kid in need I had heard about at the soup kitchen.  I made the call to the doctor's office on behalf of the elderly lady who was getting nowhere on the phone with doctors. I got my son's favorites at the supermarket.  I played the wii with my daughter after school.  I prepared an exquisite 3 course meal for the family.  And it felt good to be proactive.  To not wait, because tomorrow is not always the better day.  Because today is quickly a part of yesterday.  And because God has given me this gift called life, and I must cherish it by living with purpose.

And what is the purpose of man according to the Bible, but to glorify God with our lives?  He has created us for His purposes and glory.  So that we may take that which He has given us and give it right back by sharing it with others.  So we share our lives' moments and experiences, we share our abilities, our strengths, our skills, our individual attributes to service others and as gratitude toward the one who gifted us with this thing called life.

It isn't enough to build ourselves homes and passions here on earth for our own well-being.  Ecclesiastes 1:14 reminds us that all of our personal toils here on earth are but a "chasing of the wind".  Will we ever catch it?  No.  It all seems to dissipate and slip right through our hands.  But there are some things, certain things, that last forever.  There are things that we can take into eternity.  And those things are intangible.  Those are the things to live for.  Those are the things that make life worth living for.  And when we've figured out what they are and how they look in our own personal lives, then we can begin to live out our purpose in life.  

For a long time, I had the presumption that  my purpose was to become an author.  And that if I could meet that goal, I would have accomplished my life's purpose.  And so when I could no longer put words on paper. When I ran out of inspiration, I felt depleted and discouraged.  And I believed that I had failed.  For a while now, God has been using different things and events in my life to tell me that my life's purpose is to bring Him glory by encouraging others.  Me, an encourager?  It just didn't sound as profound or elite as "an author".  It sounded too slight or simple.  Until I started to put my words on paper with the sole purpose of bringing encouragement to others.  That's when it started to all make sense.  And I began to have peace with not having the best seller to share with friends and family.  I felt at ease and even experienced joy to know that a notecard with my words in it would help someone come out of a rut.  And so I know that by bringing encouragement to someone, I am bringing glory to God and in return I am blessed. 

I am Pro Life because just breathing isn't living.  And I choose to live out my life's purpose today because tomorrow isn't promised.

Monday, March 7, 2016

What Does Your Letter Read?

I sometimes wonder what people will remember me by when I'm gone.  My first thoughts or hopes are that people would remember my laughter, and the overall sense of a "good feeling" when they were with or around me.  I hope that I would have encouraged more than I critiqued, forgiven more than I condemned, understood more than I argued... and Loved more like Jesus loved.  Yet when I survey my efforts and lifestyle so far, I know that I'm not there yet. I'm way too selfish to love that much.  I'm  too self-absorbed to even notice.  Yeah, the truth is that if I died today, you are welcomed to tell it like it really is and tell about how inconsiderate I can be and how mean-spirited I have been.  You can tell it all.  But be sure to also include the fact that if it had not been for Christ, there would be nothing good to say about me.  Please be sure to include that God did amazing things in spite of my humanly tendencies.  Please share about how graceful and merciful God has been in my life. And how He has shown favor upon me and those dear to me.  Don't forget to tell about how much love God has for me.

When I was a little girl, I learned quickly through harsh discipline and punishment.  And I developed the misconception that God was ultimately an authoritarian who would discipline and punish me whenever I did wrong.  And so for a long time, I lived fearing God much more than loving God.  And trying to please God much more than abiding in God.  Thankfully, in recent years I've come to the realization that God loves me just as I am.  That He loved me always, and loves me now even though I'm still not all that nice.  He loves me although I don't always behave the way He intends for me to behave.  He loves that I am who I am.  He doesn't want me to change for Him.  He wants to change me.  And so as I go through my day to day, I long to please Him.  I really do.  It may not always look that way, but my heart longs to be close to Him, longs for Him, and longs to please Him.

So what does my life's letter read?  I say it comes with all of the ups and downs, ugly and appealing, easy and hard that any one's life can look like.  I'm only human.  My life's letter comes with lies I've spoken, betrayals I've committed, and sins, lots of sins.  I don't know if I ever told you, but I was once swayed into of all things, a fleeting, texting affair, filled with empty words that almost cost me my life as I know it now.  It was really about my need to be flattered and appreciated.  How egotistic and vain!  But my life's letter has been edited.  And all throughout, as you read it, you'll find big and bold red markings covering the many mistakes I've made. You'll read in bold caps, SHE IS LOVED BY ME, GOD.  I know it sounds kind of crazy that for someone who's known God her whole life, she is now finally truly understanding what it means to be loved by God.  But like I said, my life is one with many mistakes.  And the more I learn that I am truly and fully loved... with the good, bad, and ugly, the more I am able to come outside myself and make a difference in the lives of others.  The more I grasp God's mercy, grace and love, the more I am able to extend it to you.  The more I embrace His forgiveness, the more I am free to forgive you.  I guess I'm a work in progress.  But then again, aren't we all?

I've been having these types of conversations lately with my daughter.  This is an awkward and uncomfortable time for her, as she enters into middle-school years.  So much is changing for her.  And it's like an awakening for her; that all of a sudden her peers, actions, relationships, and choices actually matter.  And she's having to find her identity in the midst of lots of "social noise".  So as she shares about some of the interactions taking place and things that she's becoming aware of, I challenge her to be whom God has intended her to be.  Because ultimately, our life's letter should reflect what God is doing and who He is in us.  So I encouraged her to be the "light" that others may need to see.  I told her she doesn't have to do what others are doing just because.  But rather that she can be the one to give others the alternative to do what is right before God.  I pointed out that she's a game changer, and instead of following, she can lead.  There's so much inside of her to offer.  I see joy and light that comes from inside of her, with the specific purpose of touching others who are in need of a bit of that.  And I'm reminded that this is exactly how God sees us.

God sees all the potential there is in us because of what He can do through us.  And so He takes us in and begins to re-write our stories.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that whether we get it right all the time or not, our life's letter should reflect God's doing.  It should speak of His grace and mercy.  It should tell others about what forgiveness looks like and the hope we find in Him.  It should inspire joy and shed light on all that surrounds us.  And mostly, our letters should speaks volumes of God's love for us.

2 Corinthians 3:3, "You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tables of the human hearts."

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Contrasts... I think God is into contrasts.  And I've become more aware of it these days.  As I look out my window in the early hours of the day, and I see the coral streaks of bold beautiful color up against the grayish morning sky.  And I smile.  It's the sun rising.  Although I can barely see it beyond the colorless homes and trees lined up against it in the horizon.  Most things are surrounded by contrasts.  Some things strikingly stand out in comparison to others.  So much so that we may have, ironically, grown accustomed to and don't even acknowledge it.  At first glance, some things don't really make sense...  a young child fighting to stay alive; a loveless bride; a lonely crowd...

The silence is too loud
For one to bear
My heart cries out, but no one is listening
Tell me this truth is a lie
As I stand by your hospital bed, Rock and Roll playing in the background
I don't dare touch your hand...
Mine is warm while yours are cold

Children coming to visit a parent who's slipping away
None of it makes sense
And why aren't we angry?  Why are we unmoved to break down these doctor's walls?
Why is there a peace in the midst of this agony?
How is there joy within this sorrow?
Why aren't we asking "Where have you gone God?"

Perhaps because God has never left our side.  We recall  distant times, when we felt alone, and yet He was so near to us.  Perhaps that's why there's a glimmer of hope found in tragedy.
And maybe there really is beauty in exchange for ashes.
And maybe there's love to be found in a fallen world. As I ponder... it makes perfect sense!  God uses contrast to get our attention and draw us to Him.  He takes the broken and restores them.  He sustains the hurting.  He cares for the lonely.  In fact, He promises to be with those whose only friend is loneliness...  God's presence breaks through the doors of a room where everyone is awaiting answers and holding on for dear life.  His presence fills the room and sustains those who call on Him, even when the answers come; and the answers are hard to bear.
And we recall... that He, himself knew suffering firsthand.  He too was broken.  And hurting.  And lonely.  And still, He gave His own life so that we may live.  What a wonder!

You see, this life is but a breath... It's a gift.  But it's short lived.  In contrast, God is everlasting life.  And He promises eternal life with Him, for those who believe.  That's the irony in that it makes perfect sense! He is why we find our strength in this weakness, we find peace in turmoil, and we'll find joy in this sorrow.  Lastly, an unforeseen hope that promises us tomorrow for eternity to eternity.