Exactly one year ago I was crawling into bed to sleep for the first time in days. Unimaginable grief gave way momentarily to sheer exhaustion, and I enjoyed a deep, dreamless sleep for a few short hours. The only problem was that when I woke up, nothing had changed. Emmett was still dead, I was still a widow.
One year later, as people call, text or write a note about how they're praying for me, I smile and I'm genuinely grateful for their kind thoughts and prayers. But the flip side is that what other people are reminded of occasionally, I am reminded of a thousand times a day. From the moment I wake up on the wrong side of the bed until I shut the house down at night, I am more painfully aware of Emmett's absence than I perhaps ever was of his presence.
So it is fortuitous that I'm approaching the end of Romans 8 for my memory verses:
And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake, we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I don't make any claim to have suffered like Paul or David, and my suffering is nothing unusual caused by particularly great faith, but I am still encouraged to press on in the midst of it.