I stood there at the airport. LAX terminal 3. It’s the one for international travel. And this time it was me saying goodbye to my new husband for the very first time since our wedding day. Parting from that embrace felt like the most wrong thing to do. And yet, I knew it was the very thing I had to do. I had to let go.
While it is painful to say goodbye to my new husband as he enters into a less than assured circumstance, traveling far across the globe, there is a promise to which I cling: that Clay’s life is better held in the Lord’s hands than my own. And so I cling to that promise which allows me to open up my palms and lift them up to Jesus.
Empty hands of faith, Meredith.
In his book Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen reminds us that “friendship and love cannot develop in the form of an anxious clinging to each other. They ask for gentle fearless space in which we can move to and from each other.” A gentle fearless space… Oh, how I would strive to live in a gentle fearless space.
Nouwen later goes on to say that “just as lovers can rediscover each other during long periods of absence, so our intimate relationship with God can become deeper and more mature by the purifying experience of his absence.”
I can’t explain to you the joy of having Clay back in my arms. The relief. The overwhelming gratitude. And then I think about that Nouwen quote… and I am so convicted. In the times when we feel God’s absence, do we hold onto our faith that He is purifying us in the process and our hope that He will reveal Himself in time, or do we give up hope and lose our faith?
The Lord is faithful. He has proved Himself to be so time and time again. Just open the pages of the Old Testament.
Clay’s and my relationship was tested and strengthened in his absence. I have a newfound appreciate for his mere presence around our home. Similarly, in the times of feeling an “absence” from God (though He never actually leaves us), when that time of trial is complete we will be strengthened in our faith and in our relationship with Him so much. We will have a newfound appreciation for his mere presence in our lives that will be worth every tear and prayer cried.
In our pain there is purpose. In the desert times there is growth. In the battle there is blessing.
It’s in the battle where we are tested and our hearts are refined. It’s in the battle where we our faith is strengthened as we look to Him to guide us through the unknown. It’s in the battle where we are able to rely on Him in ways we never have before and to declare victory in all circumstances because He has conquered all – even death – through His life and death.
“the testing of your faith produces perseverance…” – James 1:3
“Fear has lost it’s power; death has lost it’s sting.” – Chris Tomlin, Marvelous Light
“There is blessing in the battle, so take heart and stand amazed.” – Dustin Kensrue, Rejoice
And so when we feel the weight of the battle. When the opposition that stands before us seems insurmountable, would we call on the name of Jesus from bended knee to show up in mighty ways, to lavish His peace upon us, to remind us who He is, who we are, and just what the point of all of this is.
And when we do? He shows up. Every time. His Warrior Angels protect us from all angles that we may praise His Holy name in all circumstances.
Would we stand amazed by Him. And would we seek to see the blessing in the battle.