Playing T-Ball in the Valley of Suck

Remember T-ball?  Everybody wins at T-ball.  “Atta-boys” and “Atta-girls” abound.  Flub up at the plate?  “Keep your chin up!  You’ll get it next time!”

The valley of suck is not t-ball.  Come off it.  This isn’t even the major leagues.  Even if you’re the last out in the World Series, you go home that night.  You pocketed how many millions?  You get another shot next season.  Pressure?  Please.  Spare me.

Watch this person who you have loved suffer.  Watch them pray and weep.  Watch them suffer the humiliations of being prodded and poked.  Carry them to the bathroom.  Wipe their rear end.  Clean up their bed, their puke, their hair falling out.  Lay beside them or sit beside them every night and try to not second guess EVERYTHING you’ve ever done or not done as they struggle to breath.  Do it everyday.  Do it for weeks.  Do it for months.  Do it for years.  Do it waiting, longing, praying, fasting, crying, hoping for ONE good report.  


I’ll take that last at bat if it means when I strike out, I can go home and hug and kiss my wife again.


Then try day after day to listen to voices say things like:

  “Be Positive!  They aren’t going to get better if you’re negative.”
  “Look at the positive side of things.”
  “Look on the sunny side of it.”
  “Don’t worry, they’ll beat this!”
  “You can’t feel that way.”
  “You can’t talk like that (or cry) in front of her!”

Pressure? You think?

Friends, there is no magic pill in the valley of suck!  And for me to say these things is not a lack of faith.  It is not a faltering of my belief and trust in God.  If anything, my faith in God is more resolute and more resilient because I am not ashamed of the God I believe in NOW.  

The God I believed in two years ago is not even the same God...or (truth be told), I am not the same person.  How is God different?  I am not going to let you nail me down on that just yet because that is just the thing, I cannot put this God in a box or mold.  This God has, in fact, completely wrecked my world.  I’ll get back with you on it as life unfolds or in my case, unravels, every day.

Tonight, I’m writing because I need to get this out.  I’m writing as I’m preparing to preach for the first time since Heather died.  I am so reluctant.  It is another first, in this continuing, unexpected firsts.  She believed in me like no one else did or has or could.  Now she is not here and there is little; no, there is no comfort in the past tense.  SHE is NOT here. I cannot explain it. It just is. Period.  Pressure?  You bet.

Here is the saving grace in it all.  Tomorrow, I am going to get up and talk about Jesus.  Tomorrow, if you dare to get up and face the Gospel message then you will come face to face with the One who wrecks worlds in ways supervillains could only dream of doing.  I am going to be talking about a God who does not ever let anything go to waste - life or death.  We are dealing with a God who does not allow the holiest of women or men get a pass on suffering and pain.   Pressure?  Sure thing.

I am going to get up and preach about a God I am seeing again for the first time.  I am preaching about a God who knows the pain of the caregivers, widows and the widowers.  I am preaching as one who is learning just why widows have a special place in the heart of God.  I am preaching about a God who wrecked my world and loved me and my family through it all.  God was - is - and will be in it.  No magic pill will be offered.  Pressure?  You have no idea.  

Only the promise that God is Emmanuel - God with us.  God with me.  

Even when I go down swinging,

God is enough.

God is all I have.

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