Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Healer of The Heart

The two story farmhouse with faded paint breathes of memories and history from the old New England days, situated at the top of a winding driveway where cell phone service is nonexistent. Beyond stands a barn no longer standing and a weary lawn beginning to flair with green.

“There are a lot of people here,” my friend approached our car window in surprise at the number of cars parked on the gravel driveway. “She might not be doing very well.”

Cautiously we entered the house, slipping off shoes at the entry and walking single file down a near-silent hallway into the living room where a small child sat with his mother, shuffling matchbox cars across the dark wood floor.

The woman looks up after placing a finger to her lips and glancing down at the tousled mop of hair. “She’s in her bedroom.”

We have permission to enter. It is strange to be so near to a personal space of a stranger, etched with memories from decades, warm with the heartbeat of a still small figure dressed in a nightgown, and bathed with the tears of those who love her.

I can remember her face so clearly - resting on a white pillow, eyes closed, lips slightly parted, and breathing mildly labored.

Beginning to realize that in my 20th year of life I have barely touched on what it means to know pain and loss, I stand by the bed of the dying for the first time in my life and my voice blends with the others in my group to sing words that become deeper and richer with every moment: 

Healer of my heart, Lover of my soul
Keeper of the stars, the earth, the sky – come and make me whole
Savior of this world, my voice praises You alone
Healer of my heart, Lover of my soul

I see the young boy propped against a window sill, staring into thin air and wiping his blurring eyes. I see the daughter of the dying sitting nearby, eyes never far from the still figure in the bed. And I cry with them.

“I will see you on the other side, Helen,” one leans over the bed, a catch in her voice. Eyelids flutter as she opens her eyes. She knows we are there.

I am crying for a stranger. And I love her though today was the first and would be the last I saw her.

……………

Tracing back the years, I leaf through the pages of my Bible to the beginning of time for our planet.

Lofty trees, branches bending with the weight of scented fruit shade the gentle form of a deer as she softly treads winding paths. Flowers dot a golden field nearby, and tall grass sways with the breath of the cool wind. Sturdy, but graceful vines grow upright, their trainable branches drooping with foliage and varied colors of fruit as the setting sun floods surrounding hills with orange glory.

I can see Him kneeling on a soft bed of moss, letting sweet water fresh from the river wash through His fingers and moisten the rich earth below.

This garden – it is for them. 

It is yet another token of His love, and meant to be their home for always. His thoughtful and purposeful heart made no mistake, and missed no opportunity to write beauty over the Eden landscape.

This home was made beautiful by the hand of God Himself. Holding unspoken dreams for the destiny of humanity in His heart, He welcomes man to the loveliness of this new earth.

And then a simple act of blatant disobedience blots over this beautiful dream in the heart of God. In humility and sadness the young couple take the last steps out of their garden home of innocence and joy. Adam turns to look back one last time as his eyes flood with blinding tears, shocked at the enormity of sin, the utter grief of death, and deep sorrow to leave his garden home.  

We can identify with Adam and Eve. We know what the ugliness of sin looks like. We have shed bitter tears, and experienced both pain and loss at some point in our lives. We beg of the Lord, “how long?” and urge Him to rescue us from the sorrow below.

But sometimes I believe we get so caught up in our grief that we neglect to consider the feelings of _His_ heart. What of this Creator Who tenderly formed mankind from the dust of the ground with His bare hands, and breathed into man's nostrils His very own breath?

He did not create us to know sin or the consequences of separation from Himself. Could His loss have been any less than that of His creation? What sort of sorrow did He feel in His heart when the time of the day came when He customarily walked and talked in the garden with Adam and Eve? Did He walk along its silent pathways still, grieving for a lost world? I wonder.

He created us to know only love, joy, and peace. He wanted our children to play in safety, love enduringly, and never know the pain of falling or thorns. He desired youth to find satisfaction through service and unselfishness, recognizing their worth in His eyes without ever watching them try to pick up the leftover pieces of their broken hearts. He designed the family to be united in love, unshakable in conviction, and never tears of parting or sharp words of anger. The ceaseless ages of eternity would roll past, and every day would reveal continual wonder and increased knowledge to children of the Heavenly Father.

We weren’t created to die. The Creator never wanted to see sad tears fall. (Yet I’m sure He cried before man ever did.) He did not purpose for us to feel one ounce of pain. (Though He felt every particle of it for us.) He didn’t breathe life into our systems for it to be snuffed out. (Yet He suffered death that we can live so that the grave can hold hope, not just bones.)

He may see fit to allow pain and sorrow. At times it may seem that He overlooks many a tearful moment marked with loss. We were never assured that we wouldn't have questions, but I can promise you this - He may not heal the body until resurrection day dawns, but He continues to be a healer of hearts.

And someday He will wipe away our tears forever.

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