August 10, 2009 marks five years since my late husband, Roosevelt Hunter, went home to be with the Lord. The pain that was left behind was too heavy for my heart to bear. Maybe you can understand that kind of internal agony. Jesus is near to the broken hearted. My heart, my life, and my hopes were shattered. I did not want to remain in that affliction but I didn’t know how to fix things.
We are not like those without hope. Having hope means you have confidence that God won’t allow you to drown in your despair. Don’t accept that this is as good as it’s going to get, and don’t expect to remain in your brokenness forever. Jesus preaches in His hometown, Nazareth, and wants to make sure that there is an anticipation stirring in the hearts of people. He opens up the scroll from the book of Isaiah and says that He can fix it, “He heals the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:3, Luke 4:18). I invited God to fill my heart with hope, to touch my children, and to make the rest of my days enjoyable again. Hope revived my fragile heart and empowered me to keep looking forward.
Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
As my 3rd grade son and I engage in meaningful conversation, he passionately asks, “Mom, who is your favorite superhero?” Without hesitation I blurt out, ” No contest, it’s Batman!” I reveal how batman gets over the terrible guilt of his parent’s death and his dreadful fear of bats to distinctively bring hope to others. As tragedy tries to cage us in, we must make a choice to push beyond its grip. Batman sees the suffering of others and realizes Gotham City needs a hero. His focus becomes his fight for injustice and his fight to free people from the clutches of evil.
We refer to the father of our Christian faith as “Father Abraham”. What’s interesting is that God first calls upon Abraham’s dad, Terah (Genesis 11). Terah moves towards God’s big plans but stops before reaching his final destination to Canaan. Unfortunately on the journey, Terah endures the death of one of his boys, Haran. What ‘s shocking is that Haran is also the name of the city that he chooses to settle into. Terah dies never getting past the point of his pain. Difficulties can block us from the ultimate blessing God has. Terah’s other son, Abraham, continues to walk by faith and God harmoniously develops a distinct plan for greatness. Abraham steps out of his tent, looks pass the ceiling into a vast starry sky. He reaches Canaan and his faith stretches out and leaves an inheritance for generations to come.
When forced to face my fears, I was preparing to share with thousands of hurting hearts at the funeral of my late husband, Roosevelt Hunter, I remember vividly a message he preached at a youth camp. Roosevelt insisted, “A hero is someone that lives for something bigger than himself.” He was such a person. One that went through his toughest moments as he watched his mom pass from this life to eternity and then to face his own battle with cancer.
The joyful and the tragic both serve to develop the reservoir we ought to give from. Wether its Abraham, Roosevelt, or you and I it is because of Christ and who He is in the equation of our lives. As Christ is Lord, He will comfort us through our afflictions and directs our steps.
Ask: Is my pain preventing me from God’s ultimate best?