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truth, joy, life

Growing roses

This time may feel barren, but God hasn't left you.

If you haven’t listened to NEEDTOBREATHE's newest album, Out of Body—specifically the song Who Am I—do yourself a a favor right now and stop reading. Go take a listen and then come back.

“You grow your roses on my barren soul.”

Who isn’t feeling somewhat barren in their soul right now?

Whether it’s the racial tensions in our country, the global pandemic, personal suffering, or the general brokenness of our world, something about right now feels barren for most of us. Some kind of wasteland we're walking through. Together, but not really. Isolated enough to feel alone, but like so many have coined this year, “alone together.”

When I heard this song for the first time the other day, I lost it. I was either in my car or at my desk at work and I just felt tears running down my face and suddenly my hand clutching my chest. I was feeling “Who am I to be loved by you?” pierce through my parched heart and hit me deep.

Feelings I haven’t felt in a while came rushing in, and I had the overwhelming feeling of His love just pouring over me. Almost as if He were sitting right there, arms wrapped as tight as they could, holding my tear-streaked face against his chest.

I can’t imagine what suffering you’ve gone through so far this year. I've experienced my own deep pain as well. But what I do know is most of us are going through something difficult or painful right now and need to somehow refocus. To shift our minds away from the present circumstances and see what’s bigger laying just beyond our reach. I know I’ve needed that.

Hearing this song reminded me that His love is so unfathomable, but so simple and accessible and right here. Right next to our suffering. In it, around it, working through it.

I want you to hear that I’m sorry for what you are growing through right now. My heart grieves thinking about who you might be and what you’re experiencing that has you shaken up, exhausted, questioning everything.

— A teacher who’s cried every day this week as she tries to figure out how to love and serve her kids well, while also worried for her own safety and that of her family.

— A mom who is so tired and running on fumes and feeling the pressure to make every minute count, while trying to figure out a new way of life.

— A husband who is trying so hard support his family, but the finances just always seem to come up a little bit short.

— The pastor who can't serve his flock the same way or sit in the presence of his people anymore.

— The single person who has been struggling with depression and wondering if they matter.

— The marriage that is broken and needs intervention.

— The nurse going in day in and day out to 12hr+ shifts with little to no reprieve.

— The mom and dad preparing their home for the next storm.

— The family who is terrified of the racial violence in our country and overwhelmed by the courage it takes to step out of their front door every day.

My heart grieves with you. I lament on your behalf to a God who promises more as I write this at 3:33 in the morning. You are on my heart. And you are on His.

On this barren soil that is life right now, He promises to grow something beautiful. He is here in our midst. He hasn’t left. He is present and sitting with us in this brokenness, working in the smallest and biggest of places to restore what has been lost. Working against the evil and the pain and the suffering. He knew we would have to walk this road and He’s not surprised. He planned to be here in it with us and to hold us and to restore us. He hasn’t caused this for you, He grieves alongside you and promises to meet you in what the world brings. To carry the load with you. To carry you.

Sometimes we don’t have the words to cry out to Him. What we muster is just tears or, “Why God?” when what we mean is what the Psalmist says,

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”

But listen, He hasn’t forsaken you or me. He hasn’t forgotten you, or your dreams, or your life or your wellbeing. He is here. He is not hiding.

I know you, like me, might feel wrung out by life right now. Like there is just very little, maybe nothing left and you’re not sure you're going to get through the day ahead, the morning ahead, the hour ahead.

I’m praying for you right now.

I’m asking God to grow roses on your barren soul today. To give you hope. To give you something to hold on to that will pull you through and let you see Him today. Keep your eyes open and your head up. It’s coming. Hope is coming. Light is coming. Joy is coming. Mercy is coming. Reprieve is coming. Restoration is coming.

Jesus is near to the broken hearted. The Holy Spirit cries out on your behalf. God is working around you, even if you can’t feel or see it.

Who are we to be loved by Him? We’re train wrecks, we’re messes, we’re human. And we’re His. We are loved because we are His and that comes with a promise made even more beautiful in hard moments. These hard moments. For times such as this he has promised Himself and His love.

You are seen and loved and heard and you will make it.

And you are not alone.


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