***SPOILER ALERT: This message contains major spoilers for the movie: City of Angels!!
Crushed. In. Spirit
It feels like being hit by a Mack truck. I know where you're at right now. The dreams you had. The unanswered prayers. The downward spiral of one travesty after another. "How many times..." you ask, "...must my heart be run over, again, and again."
I recently went on a walk to clear my head from my son's poor choices, and for some reason, the movie, City of Angels, popped into my head. Have you seen it? This doctor loses a patient, and because she has somewhat of a god complex, she blames herself. She did everything humanly possible to save him. Everyone tries to reassure her of this...but she holds tight to her skewed thought process that this man's life was entirely in her hands.
Enter, her Guardian Angel. As he whispers comfort and empathy to her sub-conscience, he eventually shows his physical being to her. He helps her see the truth; there is something bigger at play in this world than her good works.
He eventually falls in love with her and gives up his angelic status just to be with her forever.
Sounds all tingly and good, right?! My kind of movie!
She takes off on a bike ride, and, in a moment of personal revelation and bliss, she realizes she is free from her guilt. She extends her arms and closes her eyes, taking it all in.
Hit by a truck.
Dashed hopes and dreams. I REALLY don’t like this movie.
So what does this have to do with anything?
When we spoke yesterday, you told me you were in utter peace with the Lord. He gave you the gift of calm and a trusting spirit deep in your soul that said:
"Everything is as it should be. Trust in me. Have joy and peace knowing I am your God."
You truly felt it...even rejoiced in it.
The next day...BAM...
...not so much.
Your sweet baby, struggling so hard with addiction, made a devastating choice that will affect his life forever. Your hopes are dashed. Your dreams for him are null and void. No conceivable prayers have been answered.
God. Is. Silent
You are crushed in spirit.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18
I hear your objections:
"Oh yea? Where is He, then?" "I feel like that girl on the bicycle right now!"
Believe me, I've asked the same question. I've cried it out in the darkness of night and gotten no response in return.
I have a tremendous amount of empathy for where your heart is right now. I do. I've wrestled with this, and I still grapple with it from time to time.
The salve that I hope soothes you is the knowledge that the Lord is in utter sorrow, grief, and lovingkindness for you, in this wound you're experiencing.
Sometimes, I wonder if the Lord is silent because He is weeping beside us.
Yesterday, when the Lord gave you that exuberance and assurance that He was with you?
That was planned. It was on purpose. The Lord filled you so full of Himself that He was overflowing. He was still there the next day when the truck plowed through. He was there again when you were crushed in spirit, weeping beside you.
When I think of that movie and gain some perspective, I realize there is more to the story.
The angel in the story sacrificed his former life for love. Sound familiar?
"This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world, that we might live through Him." 1 John 4:9.
What a great message about sacrifice born from love!
Whatever sorrow we may endure for our sons and daughters is sorrow born out of love. We love them to the ends of the earth. Heartache is the sacrifice we make for that deep abiding love. The Father knows that kind of love. That's why I believe He weeps for our despair. That is why He soothes us from it, as well.
There was another message to the story that was just as important. When we give up everything for our fleshly desires, there is a cost.
That son or daughter that we hang all our hopes on? They will disappoint us. They will disappoint themselves.
That friend you thought would support you? She's only human. She doesn't know what to say or how to say it.
The daughter or spouse that is angry when you're sad, or sad when you're angry? They are dealing with the fallout of addiction in their own way, at their own pace, just like we are.
Unmet expectations have an emotional cost. The only one that promises to meet us where we are is Christ.
“I will never leave you or forsake you." Deut. 31:8
For the life of me, I can't decide if I love or hate this movie. It's a lot like my life. I find myself overflowing with God's peace and goodness one minute, claiming out loud: "I trust You no matter what!" The next minute, when my heart is mowed down, I falter, and I'm not so sure I trust after all. Fortunately for me...and you, He fills us to overflowing so we can eventually gather up the leftovers for our tomorrows. With God, we can bear all things. (1 Cor. 10:13)
Whenever an instant in time threatens to crush our peace, know that God is beside us because He loves us and weeps for us. He catches us before we fall because with eyes wide open and arms outstretched, we are His.