Last month marks the one-year anniversary of one of the most difficult months of my life. It was mid-November of 2021 and the ministry I serve was ending a weekend full of blessing, excitement, and joy as our staff saw God move in powerful new ways among students. A weekend filled with freedom, healing and new beginnings was later interrupted by news that my father had committed suicide the day I preached.
Many times, in life, we are faced with disruption that leads to disillusionment and what I like to call Holy Disorientation. Feelings overwhelm us, shock disables us, and the upside down infringes on the narrative that we didn’t know somehow would become a part of our story.
Over the last year I’ve learned a lot of things about grief, about people, and about loss. Many times, our story testifies to a narrative we never expected. We become blind-sided by news or circumstances we never saw coming, and most certainly didn’t invite.
Yesterday, on the anniversary of my dad’s funeral, I attended a meeting to hear a seasoned minister share. She began talking about Joseph, and when he found out that Mary was pregnant with a child that was not his. How dumbfounded and disillusioning this must have been to a man the scriptures call righteous. A man who was trying to do things right and somehow, drama he didn’t choose, was now his new normal to navigate.
I love that we have promises all through the Word of God that assures us that no matter what we’re facing, no matter how dark the valley gets, no matter how gut wrenching the loss, no matter how disappointing the news, God promises to be with us. In fact, He calls himself Immanuel, “God with us”. He doesn’t just make a vow to be with us on the scene, but to be, “Immanuel.” His presence sits holding our situation and us, while His name shouts, “I am the God who is present!”
I don’t know about you, but when I’m navigating twists and turns in a narrative of my life that I didn’t necessarily choose, but I’m thrust into the drama of, that promise of “Immanuel” changes everything! To know the Creator of the stars, the One that knew me before I was ever born, the One that ordained my steps; when He sits with me in my chaos and makes holy the disorientated journey I find myself navigating, though circumstances haven’t changed, everything has now changed.
As we enter this season of Joy, Promise, Family and Giving, remember to pause and pray for those that have had interruptions to their narrative they never expected. On the flip of a dime, or like me in the waking of the morning, life can change in an instant. Loss steals the joy, grief overshadows the promise, family is reduced, and all that’s left to give is broken heartache and tears of pain.
Let me encourage you today. If your narrative has shifted and you’ve been thrust into a narrative you never planned or agreed to, remember this, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning”. (Psalms 30:5)
The season you’re in, is NOT your season FOREVER. The tears WILL dry, the joy WILL return, the sting of pain WILL lessen, and the One who walks in your darkness WILL also be your “Immanuel” in your healing.
Your story may be forever changed, but His promise to you has not! He is the God of your story, no matter the narrative or plot twists you face. He has promised to ‘be present’. To ‘carry you’, to ‘sustain you’, to ‘fight for you’, to ‘dry your tears’ and ‘restore your joy’. You are not alone. Never are you abandoned. (Heb 13:5).
So weep, grieve, take your time in the valley. The God who holds eternity in His hands, is not requiring you to hurry. You are being held. You are safe in His arms. He weeps with you and sits with you in your grief. But know this, morning WILL come. Joy IS waiting. Purpose STILL sits before you. He is NOT FINISHED with your story.
This, my friend, is ‘Holy Disorientation’. When Immanuel, “God with us” takes hold of your most disorientating moments, slips His hand into yours, and makes them Holy.
Father, in Jesus Name, I pray for every man, women, or child that is reading this. Give them strength, courage, and patience to embrace the process of the journey to healing. Dismantle the lies of hurry and the false expectations of enough time has passed. Allow them to sit in their valley, full of faith, full of hope, and full of comfort, knowing Immanuel is with them.
May your wraparound presence engulf every emotion, thought and choice. Quicken friends and loved ones to be Jesus with skin on. To sit with them in their loss, grief, disappointment, betrayal, shame, and pain. Send ministering angels to surround them and minister truth to their hearts and gift them with a sound mind. Heal their broken hearts, make them whole, and rewrite the narrative of their story to one of victory, freedom, blessing and ‘Holy Disorientation’. in Jesus Name, Amen.
Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 46:4; Exodus 14:14; Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 61:3; John 16:20