I am sure if you’re reading this, then you have felt the stuckage of that deep pain in the pit of your stomach when, what you believed would happen, just doesn’t. When, what you prayed for feels as though it goes unanswered.
It’s a tormenting feeling to see a severing of hope from a deep longing for awaited healing and comforting closure. It’s almost like walking in a dream that you don’t wake up from. The surreal feeling that finality has come and the ending is no where close to your anticipated fairytale ending.
Questions flood your heart…
No way, is this really how it ends?
How can this be?
How can it end without a closure that makes sense?
How could an all of a sudden turn into an indefinite wait with no hopes of closure?
If you have ever felt this, then welcome to the club of unmet expectations and devastating endings. The place where what shouldn’t be is and what should be is no longer on the table.
It feels wrong.
It feels unjust.
It’s just, Not right.
So how do we move on? How do we close one chapter and advance to the next one when restoration doesn’t happen? How do we shift our season of disappointed expectation to a new season of hope for another?
Let me tell you, it’s hard. It’s crushing. It’s almost unbearable – #butGod.
In Genesis 35:20, it says “Jacob set up a pillar over Her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.”
Can you imagine what Jacob was feeling? Fourteen years he worked for the love of this life. He prayed and sought the Lord to open her womb, and in the final run of their second child she dies unexpectedly and very young. I imagine Jacob felt robbed. Even devastated. This was not the narrative he thought would happen. He had already been deceived into taking Leah as a wife after seven years of hard labor. I’m sure he felt this was not the ending he planned or deserved. I’m sure he felt robbed all over again. How could this be the end of the story?
But what impresses me is Genesis verse 35:21; “Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder.”
Back in the beginning of Genesis 32:28 God had renamed Jacob, “Israel.”
“Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Jacob in his own version of his story had a narrative that I’m sure kept Rachel with him into old age. But God’s narrative in Jacob’s life, would look different. When Jacob buried his wife, he buried his expectations of his narrative. He laid down his story and in verse 21 He picked up God’s story.
ISRAEL Moved On….
He stepped into the narrative God was writing. He stepped into who God was calling him to be. He decided, he may not understand, #butGod’s way was best.
Often times when God’s story over our life doesn’t align with the expectation of our story, we find ourselves in dire disappointment and loss.
Recently I lost my father. At the height of an incredible weekend of God moving powerfully, I woke up Sunday morning to discover on Facebook my Father had died. So many emotions flooded me.
Why had no family contacted me?
Why did I have to learn that my Father died on social media?
Why had God allowed him to pass before restoration? Hadn’t I prayed for this? Even wept in prayer for this?
Hadn’t I cried before God many times, asking Him to change his heart?
Hadn’t I been faithful to do what the Bible told me to do?
Restoration, how I saw it, wasn’t my story. Closure, how I wanted it, wasn’t my gift. I would have to wrestle through the unmet expectations and unresolved feelings of loss and disappointment of regret. I would have to choose what kind of pillar I would build to mourn my loss and then decide how I would move on.
Jacob buried Rachel as her husband. As the man that worked and labored for the love of his life. He buried her in his unmet expectations and unresolved feelings of loss.
But Jacob moved on as Israel. He moved on in the narrative that God was writing. He moved on choosing God’s story over his own. He moved on accepting his loss and trusting the God who knows all and sees all. He moved on, in the identity God had called him to, not who he saw himself to be.
You see, when restoration doesn’t happen the way we think, we must move on. We have to lay down our narrative to pick up God’s. We have to accept the mystery of the unmet answers to our questions and trust the truth that there is a God who knows and sees all. He is worthy of our trust. His story is better, even when it is mysterious and hard. His narrative is right, even in the confusion of what feels wrong.
In these moments, “we cling (fix our eyes) on what we cannot see and not what we can see. For what we can see is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.”(2Corinthians 4:18)
For me, I have to bury my dad as his daughter, and move on as God’s daughter. I must lay down the name, the role, the label I came into this world with and embrace the name, the calling, the purpose God is calling me to walk in. I must embrace the tension of His Sovereign mystery with the brokenness of this world and recognize that it leaves pieces behind that often never find a place in the puzzle.
You see, It’s okay to feel broken.
It’s okay to not have closure to your story.
It’s okay to grieve the loss of what should have been.
It’s okay to be disappointed.
It’s okay to be Beautifully Broken.
I imagine every day God looks at mankind that there is a part of his heart that grieves the loss of what should have been.
But we have this promise before us. One day all things will be made new. (Revelations 21:5)
One day the broken pieces of our stories will be restored and we will walk whole and complete in Jesus.
One day, the pain, the tears, the loss, the grief, the regret, the unmet expectations will lift and we will rejoice that we were counted worthy to share in His sufferings.
So, today I grieve with hope. I shed tears with buried joy. I choose to move on and embrace the story God chose.
I choose to step into the identity God has called me to and not walk in the one that my emotions tell me.
I choose truth over lies.
Victory over defeat.
Life over death.
Mystery over doubt.
His story over mine.
What about you?
Will you stay at the grave side of disappointment and loss or move on and embrace the story God is writing over your life?
I know it may not make sense right now, but His Word promises us, one day it will. Who He calls you in His narrative, if you lean into it, will always give you the strength you need, to lay down your narrative.
His story is always better, even when its hard.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.” Revelations 2: 17