“Please, I need to be alone with him.”
Silently the room emptied, a click of a door latch the only sound. The horror of the last few hours spun in a torrent.
“OH GOD, HELP ME NOT TO HATE YOU FOR THIS!”
Alone with my beloved, I fell across his body, allowing my emotional flood gates to crack and finally rupture. The words were born of anguish and desperation, for I was totally aware that left to myself, I would hate God. He had utterly crushed me (or so it seemed). How could I continue to love Him? But what a fearful thing to hate Him.
It was a cry flecked with anger and accusation, but painted with sorrow and dependence. I pleaded with God for help. There were no more words, just the groaning of a shattered soul, who knew she was incapable of faith.
Minutes before I’d had grace to say, “Yes, Lord. He’s yours. My hands are open, and I give Him back to you.”
I had meant it. My hands were open. But alone with my husband’s lifeless form, the flicker of light threatened to extinguish itself entirely. Both were honest moments before God—the open hands and the desperation.
“Simon Simon, behold Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
That day and many days thereafter I felt like sifted wheat, violently shaken so that my faith would fail.
But as Jesus confidently prayed for Peter, so does He intercede for me.
He was so confident in his prayer for Peter that he said, ‘When you have turned again,’ not ‘If you turn again.’ So even though Peter stumbled in denial, his faith did not fail utterly. That is what the Lord prays for us. This is one piece of our great security and hope.” (John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy)
Some scenes become branded on hearts forever. The weeping woman collapsed over her husband’s hospital bed is one of them. But these days I see it from a different angle.
Almost three years later, it’s tragedy turned triumph. It’s an image that stirs worship almost more than any other; the triumph isn’t mine, but Christ’s on my behalf. It’s a scene emblazoned with the gospel. And ideas like redemption, resurrection, restoration, life, and eternity emboss themselves across the memory.
MY FAITH DID NOT UTTERLY FAIL. IT WILL NOT UTTERLY FAIL.
How astonishing, these words! For with the benefit of hindsight, I know just how deep the days would become. Were it not for God Himself drawing me ever nearer, I would have hated Him. So faithfully and gently He shepherded, drawing me back, carrying the broken lamb, reminding me what is true.
It is good that I knew my radical dependency and comprehensive insufficiency. That I love Him today is only because of His love, grace, and power.
And there is but one cause. The Great Intercessor has secured my standing before God. He confidently carries me and equips me with the everything good, “working that which is pleasing in His sight.” (Hebrews 13: 21) Though Satan attempts to destroy, Jesus triumphs over him openly, utterly crushing his head.
Rather than faith failing, it grew exponentially. Faith was fortified with a substance stronger than steel; that is, the power that raised Christ from the dead. And even the fortifying was not of my own effort.
I HAVE A SAVIOR WHO LOVES ME AND DID NOT LET ME BE DESTROYED.
It’s pleasing in His sight that I draw ever nearer to Him. How precious then, He has turned a horrifying scene to one of beauty. Even in my desperation, He was drawing me near.
“Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25)