Labor Day weekend took on a whole new meaning this year. Instead of celebrating the labor of hands, I endured some labor of the heart.
Over the process of the weekend, my sister began experiencing many frightening medical difficulties, which resulted in her husband rushing her to the emergency room late Sunday night, soon diagnosed with a serious infection.
As soon as I learned about her situation, my heart sunk – as it has done countless times before, when I would realize that she was suffering with yet another painful circumstance, resulting from her battle with Multiple Schlerosis.
I prayed for her with great vigor, as I always do. I tried to hope for the best, as I always do. I pleaded for Gods blessing and provision over her, and for His miraculous healing, as I always do.
But what I also always do, with each new trial she faces, is desperately cling to the truths in Gods Word – truths that promise love, protection, healing, blessing, and purpose for pain. But with each new painful and undeserved trial she has to endure, the deepest parts of my heart begin to feel emptied of hope, labored with uncertainty, and filled with doubt.
I was out of town over the weekend when this infection started, so I packed up the family and we hopped in the car for the three hour drive back to the hospital.
Although my heart was heavy, I knew I was a couple weeks behind in my daily chronological Bible reading, simply because life had been busy and my normal routines had been out of sync. My time kept slipping away somehow, and with each passing day, I promised God I would catch up with Him soon.
Stuck in the car with time on my hands, it seemed the perfect time to do some serious catching up.
Before opening my Bible, I said a prayer. Just a little prayer, but it was filled with a desperate need for reassurance. I simply said, “Lord, do you see my sister? Do you see her pain? Do you see her suffering? Do you care about her? Lord, really, do you even see her?” Then I focused on the pages of my Bible, hoping that God would speak to my spirit and lessen my labored heart.
After reading over the daily readings that I was supposed to have read ten days ago, I soon realized that God already knew about my lack of time management lately. In fact, He used my lack of time, to become a part of His perfect timing, and to give me a Word from Him, at the exact time I needed it.
The words “do you even see her Lord?” were still ringing in my thoughts as I came across this verse in Lamentations:
Lamentations 3:49-51 My tears flow endlessly; they will not stop until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees. My heart is breaking over the fate…..
The words “the Lord sees” jumped off the page. The word “my heart is breaking” jumped off the page. The words “my tears flow endlessly” jumped off the page. There were a lot of words bouncing around in our cars atmosphere! But it was wonderful – I needed to know that He saw her, and through these words, He reassured me that Yes, He did.
And friends, He has done that for me so many times during her battle with this disease, and on many occasions I have written about it on my blog. So many times, that I am almost ashamed to admit doubt. But God is so faithful, and once again, He was.
But how easy it is to doubt Gods sovereignty, despite past triumphs, when it seems that the battles of this world are waging war against someone we love, or against us – and winning.
To know that He sees us, down here on earth, in the midst of our pain and suffering, and to be reassured of that love, is almost more blessing than I can wrap my mind around.
How phenomenal to think that the Lord of all creation, heard my one little question, the cries of a sisters heart, and divinely planned my exact Bible reading on a day when I would be seeking the answer to that one little question. Had I read that verse a few weeks ago, I may have simply overlooked it. But on this day, it was the voice of God. There are many other verses that I have allowed to sink into my spirit since the weekend, of how God sees us in our every day lives, and I thank Him for each and every little step of affirmation of His love.
Maybe you have wondered if God sees your loved one who is suffering. Maybe you have wondered if He sees you, and your suffering. I want to reassure you today, that He does. He knows your name. He sees your situation. He loves you, and those you love. And He hurts.
I also read this verse while riding down the interstate that day – Lamentations 3:31-33 – For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
God knows how much it hurts to watch a loved one suffer, because He watched His own Son die on the cross. His heart must have been breaking, His tears endlessly flowing. His ears burning when Jesus wondered if God even saw Him, on that cross – when His Son felt forsaken – but even as Jesus yelled out to the heavens, with the little bit of strength He had left, “God, why have you forsaken me?!“…. His Father was still there. Knowing all. Hearing all. Seeing all.
Sometimes I wonder if my sister feels forsaken. I wonder if she feels as if God has forgotten her, even though her faith appears to stay strong.
But I stake my hope in the verses above, knowing that God sees us her, loves her, and cries for her. And because of His great compassion, I believe that He has not forsaken her.
Because our God, knows our names.
My name. Your name. Your loved ones names. Even when we feel forsaken or forgotten, or wonder why it seems He has forsaken those we love…. He is still there. Knowing. Hearing. Seeing. Caring.
Unwavering hope in the middle of our own trials and sufferings, and of those that we helplessly watch our loved ones endure, can only come from embracing those priceless truths that God Was, Is, and Always Will Be. That God knows, hears and sees all.
That God loves – always and forever, with great compassion. Those promises are ones that our heart can labor over every day, and the outcome will always be joy, instead of heartache.
Lamentations 3:55-57 I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”