This time of year always brings about a sort of reflective period for me. It was on this day two years ago, with 2019 only barely dawning on the horizon, that I walked into Children’s Hospital for what was supposed to be a one night stay but ended up lasting 9. I would battle doctors who didn’t believe me and tried to make me admit to an eating disorder, with a plethora of painful, traumatic medical procedures, and the absolute misery of refeeding syndrome.
But there was a space in between, when standing at the precipice of despair, begging God to take this cup–take this cup and pour out the aching journey it is brimming with, because it is not one I can bear–when He stilled my soul.
My throat was too sore and swollen from the tube that stretched down into my intestines to dare to verbalize a prayer, so I just sat. Sat in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, tracing with my eyes the skyline of buildings that stretched up to scrape the darkened sky. I sat with arms wrapped around myself, trying not to fixate on the way my ribs were protruding from underneath my gown, or the way–if I wrapped. my arms tightly enough around–I could count each and every vertebrae.
I was living in a state of sustaining grace, while also balancing the ever-growing realization that I just might not get better. This cup might not be passed from me. This just might be my journey of ache to walk, and I wasn’t entirely sure how long I could do it. It was a sobering reality, but it was my reality…
That beautiful sentence that speaks to the divine intervention of grace.
The grip that locks hands with us in our dark, dark nights, refusing to let us go. He breaks through our spiraling chaos and waltzes with us in our grief. He binds up our broken hearts and downtrodden souls, covering our scars with His. But our suffering is not our destiny. For though we are facing a world of endless tribulation, it is a world overcome, a world overtaken, a world ever-conquered.
Suffering has never been—nor will it ever be—our final destination as His Beloved. It always, ultimately, ends in glory. It will end in joy. The night, however dark, however long, is always shattered by dawn.
He is Dawn.
The Breaker of midnights. The Conqueror of sorrows. Hemming us in, keeping us within Himself. He takes on our pain, meets us in it, and beckons us to lean on Him for hope.
But we are hard pressed for hope. We live in a world of pain, of grief, of trauma.
We find ourselves so often pressed between trials.
A Red Sea on one side, an Egyptian army on the other. Wedged between the impossible. The agonizing space in between. But the space in between is where He happens; the space in between is an opportunity to draw near.
But far too often, our only goal is to get to the other side of that space.
Cross the sea.
Escape the lion’s den.
Defeat the giant.
And the other side of a miracle is wonderful, elating even.
But we cannot live a life of constantly looking to the other side of parted seas and fallen giants.
And our hope, our joy, cannot be found on the other side of whatever it is we’re facing.
Because not all giants fall.
Not all seas split the way we expect or lead us to where we wanted to go.
Our hope must come not from the miracle, but from the Miracle Worker.
I have found that it is in the space in between pain and healing where the Healer is found. It is in that space in between that we experience the intimacy of God.
But our natural response is often to curl up within ourselves—
away from others, away from Him.
There may be giants that will not fall this side of Heaven.
There may be parted seas that lead to shorelines you weren’t expecting.
But one thing remains certain: He is God, and He is good.
He is good, right here, right now, in this space in between.
He is at work, whether we see it in a tangible way or not.
The space in between can feel agonizing. Like a breath you cannot exhale, like a jaw you can’t unclench, like a knot in your stomach that never unwinds.
Turn toward Him.
Fixate on His goodness.
He is here in this space in between.
He is the peace we are all looking for.
He is wisp of a May wind, curling around the gentle contours of your face, beckoning you to breathe in–in and out, Dear.
He is the song of your soul, the unsung hymn you carry with you throughout the day.
He is the ledge that catches you as you slip from the precipice of all your overwhelm.
He is the hand that reaches into the deepest of pits to grab hold of yours and pull you out.
He is the hum of sustaining grace that fills your ears on dark nights when all hope feels lost.
He is the guiding light of the moon, wrapping its rays around your soul to cradle you through the night.
He is the edging break of dawn, slipping past the horizon of mountains and trees, breaking past every object in its path to rest upon you in warm, restoring, joy-in-the-morning glory.
Rest assured, oh weary traveler, wandering your way across this scorched earth, that you are not ever–not for moment, not even a little–alone in the space in between.