I was contemplating a nap on Sunday afternoon while listening to some music when the words “where grace and suffering meet” captured my attention, and the following picture went through my mind.
Shrouded in the ever present, heavy darkness she moved forward, no longer able to recall a day she didn’t feel the pain and anguish. She went for her daily walk hoping for a distraction yet again the questions and what ifs came…with no answer…with no peace.
It felt like a hand was squeezing her heart as she stopped to take a deep breath. Around her the shining sun reflected off of the fresh spring leaves which danced happily in the breeze under a clear blue sky. Joyous chatter filled the air from the nearby park as families gathered to enjoy the day. A brief longing to enjoy the day as well came to her, and just as quickly flitted away. The wall of despair and heartache surrounding her was inescapable. It was a part of her..waking…sleeping…a constant companion.
Head down she continued her walk, plodding along, no longer caring to escape the pain-filled darkness. There were no more tears to shed…no alternatives to turn to.
Turning a corner she lifted her eyes and then hesitated, her steps faltering. Something was different. Warily she looked around, but nothing stood out to her. This was the same street she walked everyday. Her circuit never changed yet a stillness was present that had not been there before.
Shaking her head she moved forward cautiously.
“Hello.” A voice pierced her surrounding darkness.
Stopping again she began to shake as the pain became oppressive. Struggling, she lifted her eyes to behold the man before her. Unable to look away, a light brighter than the sun shone forth from his eyes, blinding her. The pressure built inside, constricting all movement…all thought.
Tenderly he reached up and brushed the hair away from her forehead and spoke a word she thought she would never feel again, “Peace.”
Instantly the pain and darkness fled. Tears streaming down her face she breathed deeply, no longer constricted.
“Jesus,” she whispered.”I thought you were forever gone from me.”
“No, Beloved. I am always here.” Compassion radiated from his entire being. “I have a gift for you if you will receive it. It’s the gift of Grace.” A tender smile touched his face, and his eyes of love gleamed even brighter. “But to receive it fully you need to do something for me.”
“What is it?” she asked desperate to not have the darkness return.
He reached out his nail pierced hands to grasp hers.
“Give me your burden. Give me your pain. Put it where it belongs at the foot of the cross. I’ve already suffered for it, Beloved.” Cupping her face with both hands he continued, “Let it now be redeemed.”
A joy that she had never experienced before began to fill her. Reaching for his hands, she freely laughed as she gave away all that imprisoned her.
To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. – Isaiah 61:3 AMP