I was awakened in the middle of the night last night and after the typical trek to the restroom, I crawled back under the covers. Recently Joel has been diagnosed with sleep-apnea and given a breathing machine for night time use. It is whisper quiet, and so is he, now that he’s breathing well. So I couldn’t hear him. He wasn’t snoring, or breathing at all that I could tell! I rolled over next to him and laid my hand on his chest, and my cheek on his shoulder. Even though I had know intention of waking him up, I felt a flex and then he was whispering, “Are you OK?” Oops. “Yea, I’m fine.” I answered. And suddenly my face was puckered in a frown and my eyes pricked as I recalled nights of empty loneliness. It was a strange, sweet sadness. The kind that is in retrospect, so carries with it a level of relief. But still a sorrow for something that will never truly be recovered.

Still the retrospect brings a surprising amount of acceptance that can only be attributed to God’s grace. The other day Joel and I had an interesting conversation related to the question, “If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?” Interestingly, neither of us chose Joel’s incarceration as the thing we would change. Of course, that would seem the obvious answer, for I would never wish on anyone the pain of these past five years. But as Joel said, “I can’t really wish that part of my life away because I wouldn’t be who I am now without that life lesson and how God brought me through it. I’ve grown so much through this experience. And I don’t know how I would have without it.” Then we went on to talk about the things we would change or wish for, and we both had to admit that one of the primary issues we have learned is that without a true knowledge of the bigger picture, even the things we would wish for now, might end up being to our detriment later.

I am awed by how God’s sovereignty becomes the only kind of comfort that can at once assuage the pain of the past, and give confidence of a future hope. It is only God’s grace that gives me the eyes to see my life, all the joys and pains, through that lens.



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