Early Thursday morning (very, very early thanks to the red-eye flight), Matt and I returned home from an amazing week away in Wine Country, CA. Matt and I love to travel together. Some of our greatest memories are from past trips - meandering through the streets of Florence, exploring the ruins of Rome, reveling in the spectacular natural beauty of Rio and soaking in the grandeur of Paris. After we found out that Isaiah had passed away it felt like the world as we knew it ended. It literally felt like the life was sucked out of us and we were left a hollow, devastated shell. But Isaiah taught us that we were not intended to live as only a shell of ourselves. Jesus said that HE came to give us life, life abundant (John 10:10). So we decided to cancel our "pity-party" and take time to heal our shattered hearts, treasure each other, and create new memories.
So many of you encouraged us to take this trip. We could so tangibly feel your prayers for restoration and peace. Our trip to California was better than we could have ever hoped. Every view we saw was absolutely stunning. It was a relief to be surrounded by such beauty and life. We rented a car and spent hours driving through the winding narrow mountain roads, the miles of vineyards, and the majestic Pacific coast. Matt and I kept commenting about how there was such a spiritual quality to the trip. Every moment seemed to scream of the beauty and majesty of God.
One evening as Matt and I were enjoying dinner in San Francisco, our conversation turned again to the loss of Isaiah. Our thoughts clouded and we couldn't stop from declaring how unfair life is. How could we lose the son that we were so excited to welcome? Why do we have to look out our living room window and see the teen parents strolling their beautiful, healthy children in front of the Chicago Public High School across the street? This is clearly unfair. As these despairing, angry thoughts darkened our conversation, I was reminded that in our fallen world, life is not fair. Unfairness strikes every second of every day in all reaches of our broken world. Even yesterday I learned that a dear family member of mine is going through a terribly difficult time in her family. That too is just not fair and it breaks my heart. My only rest is knowing that unfairness is not of God and that it breaks HIS heart too.
As we sat in that restaurant on Washington Square in San Francisco, it dawned on us that "unfairness" is not just about the difficult, shattered parts of our lives, but also about the unmerited grace and blessings. We do not deserve the good pieces of our lives any more than we deserve the despair and pain. It's unfair that we lost our son Isaiah. But, its also "unfair" that GOD has given us so many dear friends to love on us. It's unfair that we had to buy a burial plot and watch our son be placed in the dark hollow of a cold grave. But, it's also "unfair" that the Lord has richly provided jobs, a home, and the resources to travel to California for restoration.
How many times have I screamed "it's unfair!" in difficult times... and been so silent in blessed times?
No matter the circumstances of life, I will choose to praise God. No matter how much turmoil or abundance comes my way, I will rest in the truth that one day God will bring me to my true home where I will rejoice in God's UNBROKEN world.
There was a sign that Matt and I passed each morning as we left our hotel in the Sonoma Valley. It was written for us (and for you).
"In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- Jesus (John 16:33)