Angry emails have been sailing across my computer screen for the past few days and as I’ve read and re-read each one, responding to none, I’ve been overwhelmed by the intense, raw emotion piercing the words – a deep, smoldering pain masquerading as anger, so deep its sole intent is to protect, defend, wall-off, seal-up, shut down and isolate itself from any more pain, to wound before its wounded, pain with no easy answers, no quick fix, and too much history – an universal pain lived out on battlefields the world over, pain that causes churches to split, families to dissolve, marriages to fail, and governments to rise and fall, pain nearly as old as mankind, as old as Cain and Abel.
As I’ve thought and prayed through these messages, my heart has broken for the one who’s hurting. A dozen times I’ve wanted to pour out my heart in words of love and compassion, to soothe her soul, ease her pain and assure her that no matter what, I love her. Yet she’s been wounded by words spoken in my home, words that cut her to the quick, words born of compassion and love, and spoken deeply in prayer, yet words that lost their heart intent when she heard them second-hand, words intended to heal that instead pierced her soul.
Last week a war of words was waged among my kids. Words were wielded like swords, cutting deep, and apples thrown like baseballs exploded in my kitchen far and wide. Then in a clear and fleeting instant in the midst of the chaos, time stood still and I glimpsed the chasm of pain shredding my son’s soul. Pain masquerading as anger, pain so deep its sole intent is to protect, defend, wall-off, seal-up, shut down and isolate itself from any more pain, to wound before its wounded, pain with no easy answers and no quick fix, pain nearly as old as mankind.
“So, Lord, what can I do? Words are what I know, how I relate to the world, to others, to You. Words are how I untangle the fragments of thought and emotion swirling through my soul. They are my gift – simply a gift from my heart to another’s with no obligation to either read the words or respond, ever, because I’ll never ask – simply a gift of Your amazing love living in and through me. So what do I do when words fail?”
“Oh, my child,” I heard God speak to my soul, “your words were never meant to heal a pain so deep and your love can’t fill a chasm of loneliness. Only My love can heal a wounded heart and fill a lonely, aching soul. For My love is perfect, holy and all-forgiving, patient and kind. My love is not easily angered or proud or rude or self-seeking. It does not boast or envy or keep a record of wrongs, but rather rejoices in the truth. My love always protects, always hopes, always perseveres, and My love never fails. It is only My love that can redeem the years the locusts have eaten, conquering sin and death and restoring hope and peace and joy, for I am love, everlasting love that conquers all.”
As my husband kissed me good-bye early this morning, he whispered, “Pray for my family.”
“I do,” I breathed, “because my God never, ever fails.”