My husband stuck his phone under my nose, as I wearily entered the kitchen.
“Look what I caught outside,” he said. My moist eyes glanced down at the ribbons of green streaming across his photo of the sky.
I bundled up as quickly as I could against the cold that was about to accost me, eager to stand under the cover of the Northern Lights as they flowed above our house. A reminder to look up as I inwardly processed my daughter’s lingering grief.
I don’t know what to do with the struggle that comes after obedience. There are no easy answers to the fall-out of transition. Especially for those that don’t have a choice in the matter — like my kids.
A few minutes before I ended up outside, chasing rivers of light, I sat at my daughter’s bedside. And, like I’ve done many times before, I rubbed her back as she cried about the place that she missed.
We’ve lived in Iceland for over four years, with ebbs and flows of homesickness. My daughter’s recent melancholy was triggered by conversations with new friends over dinner. We shared the testimony of our journey with Jesus, of how the Lord provided for us in amazing ways. But as my daughter vocalized her heartache later that night, I realized that her struggle wasn’t one I could easily fix. God was in the way, because God was the one who had set the course before us.
In these times, I want to give her a boxed up answer — tied in a pretty bow — that will instantly take away her discomfort. I want to buy the plane ticket and fly her to where she wants to go and relieve the burden of her ache. But it is not a foe that we are fighting. It’s not even a wrong that needs to be made right. We are here in this country that we really adore because we are doing our best to walk in obedience.
These instances cannot be passed by so easily, because God oftentimes is in the way of what we think we want. But there is invitation to engage with the Lord as He steps into where we are. He’s fully aware of our grief and the limitations of our understanding, but He offers us the opportunity to know Him in a way that we wouldn’t otherwise.
All throughout scripture, we see the stories of those who had God burst in on their paths:
- Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord and God gave him a new name.
- Moses encountered the Lord and impending death on his way to Egypt.
- The angel Gabriel told Mary she would carry God’s son.
- Though Paul desired to go to a certain city, instead the Holy Spirit led him to Macedonia.
These were spectacular displays of God interrupting the lives of His people. And, like our brothers and sisters of old, God has set us on the path to something more. Maybe higher than we can understand or comprehend. But always better.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Psalm 139:5-6 (NIV)
In the moments when He hems me in, I’m unable to appease the ache of my children with simple answers. But I can show them, through my own grasping, what it means to cling to Jesus. I can guide their hands not to material things, but to grab ahold of the hand placed upon them.
As I tuck my daughter in at night, I pray she will experience the Holy Spirit as her comforter. Even though I’m afraid she’ll blame God, I want to hold her hand as she encounters Him. I want her to know that even in this moment, it may not be comfortable, but she is covered.
When I looked up at the sky above me that night, it felt like the sweetest kiss of color and light. I lifted my hands and whispered prayers into the ridiculous cold as I watched sun particles bursting through the atmosphere — interrupting the inky darkness with a dazzling display.
It was a reminder of what it looks like for God to be in our way — to be invited to seek out not what is easy, but what is higher, deeper, wider than we can comprehend.
We surrender what we want…for everything that is His.
And we trust that it will be glorious.Leave a Comment