Crying into your chili fries across from a friend can be so therapeutic.
I had forgotten just how therapeutic until I did it this past weekend. It was exactly what I needed, a good ugly cry into fresh-sliced carbs and gooey comforting beef. Within a few moments, I had forgotten that I was rain-soaked to the skin, that my makeup had been cried and wiped completely off my face, that I was shoulder-to-shoulder with shopping strangers, and that I was bone-weary from weeks of rushing, scheduling, agonizing, and praying.
Because God had just begun to answer a year-long prayer, a prayer I had
daily hourly checked my inbox for the answer, a prayer I hardly dared whisper in front of my closest friends. And when the windows of heaven began to open, I was so terrified at the prospect of receiving the weighty response I had so long craved that I trembled and cried aloud for mercy.
And at my right hand God had placed a friend in deed, one who felt my pain and anticipation, one who shared the burden and the blessing with me, who cried along side me while visibly rejoicing at God’s goodness. Over ordinary lunch came extraordinary communion.
And her words of deepest comfort came from the place of her deepest pain. She found the hope and healing she desperately sought every day and offered it across the picnic table to me as I tried to stuff my hungry soul with sustenance:
God has already written your book. He ordained every part of it from the beginning. You are simply reading, line by line, what He has always known. So don’t fear the next chapter. Turn the page with faith and anticipation.
Your book is written. Do you know that, too? I know it in my head, but I don’t live with the same eager anticipation I turn the pages of a compelling novel or gripping memoir. But I should. I should stop agonizing over every comma, page break, and plot twist of my life and instead look UP with joyous eagerness — the best is yet to come!
And it is! Since we know that, since we believe that, should we not live that on our faces, in our speech, and in our actions?
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.
In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”