Never Alone

Young woman using DSLR camera

Some things cannot be captured in a photo fully.

It’s the good things like the, as much as humanly possible, unconditional love between one person and another. The unexpected surprise at midday such as a thoughtful gift, a word of desperately needed encouragement, or the relief and excitement of a long-awaited answer to prayer.

Or the not-so-good, like a heart-wrenching diagnosis, an unexpected break-up leaving an ocean of scars roaring with unanswered questions, abandonment, and rejection in its wake, or perhaps the sudden job loss with threats of financial ruin and loss of reputation ahead.

Is it ever really bad when leaning on the Promises of a loving God, who says He will work it into a plan for good? Would someone dare ask that question of a grieving mother and father at the loss of their precious child? Faith can feel like a dripping blood-soaked bandage barely holding on to our hemorrhaging wound. Our answer lies in the pursuit of learning more about the true nature of The One. Somehow…even when it’s beyond our limited understanding we carry on with only a thimble of hope as we seek Him to mend our seemingly irreparable heart.

Ouch, that needle hurts!

What created thing can fully lay hold of its Creator and His thoughts and plans? We can only hope that ultimately good will come from the situation we’ve had to endure. After all, He did say that (Romans 8:28). Maybe, just maybe, there may even be more than one good thing to come from the heartbreaking situations in life? After all, He did suffer intense agony on a cross and gave us His spotless blood. All the while, acknowledging us before we ever turned an unfaithful eye toward Him.

A photo can never detail the compassion, painstakingly groomed, from a heart once devastated and shattered. Nor can it begin to express the shameless freedom and genuine laughter of an undaunted child whose yet been affected by the expectations, criticisms, and judgments of a hurting world. Or how about when forgiveness has been extended, even without an apology. On that note, let’s talk about mercy for a moment: the act of forgiving someone, knowing the dagger of betrayal would only pierce that much deeper into our own bleeding heart if we were to choose a different route.

We may not believe that to forgive is just that, a choice. No doubt, quite often, a difficult one. Nonetheless, it is a decision we get to make. We remind ourselves, from the classroom of humility, what we’ve learned over the years. That is, freely we have received and so freely we’re called to give (Matthew 10:8). Forgiveness for every single sin we’ve ever participated in has been placed under the blood of Jesus and grants us access to our loving Father for all eternity. Our attainment of such undeniable mercy is completely free to those who will only believe in the priceless gift we’ve been given. We too are asked to extend the same pardon to others (Colossians 3:13).

Oh but wait…lest you see me as only a victim! I’ve also been one to plunge a sharp and deeply cutting merciless sword, creating a crater of pain and brokenness in the soul of another, and another, and another. Yes, regret, that too cannot be clearly captured in a picture…thankfully. All these issues of the heart are undeniably beyond full expression in a mere photo.

The greatest indescribable treasure, however, that stands above the rest and can never display itself behind the most refined of camera lenses is the all-consuming healing set ablaze from the light and fire in the very breath of God. To experience Him and to hear His voice in the midst of pain is equal to forgetting the anguish of labor once the twinkling of your child’s eye meets yours. You will know, in the depths of your soul, it has been worth it all.

Although I’ve heard it said that a picture paints a thousand words, this One thing, above all the others…CREATOR, cannot be documented by film for consumption by the human eye. It is only treasured in a heart made whole through tragedy and triumph, by a God who is only love in its purest form and continually promises this truth: I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).