I wrote this earlier this week over at 2nds, my church’s blog.

“Just a closer walk with Thee.”

Yesterday, Barry Shafer, a guest speaker, shared about his journey before, during, and after his wife’s battle with breast cancer, one she ultimately lost. If you missed it, be sure to watch or listen here. What I appreciated most—and why I snatched it for this post—was what he entitled his message: A Journey Observed.

How often do we look back? How often do we peer closely at our deepest hurts?

Frequently, we bury our emotions. We dig a big hole for our pain and hope it stays put. And sadly, we not only fail to notice how God might want to help us grow but we also miss his presence. God is not far away; he is near. He wants to hold us and rock us and whisper over and over, “It’s going to be all right.” But we push him away. Sometimes we even try to pretend we’re not hurting.

A bonus for SWYW readers, a great scene from Good Will Hunting that I refrained from sharing at 2nds.

I’ll never forget our younger daughter Jacque at my father’s funeral. During the 2,000-mile trip back home to Arizona and even in the couple days we were there before the funeral, she (at nine years old) pushed aside her grief. After the service was over, only my close family was there, and we encouraged our girls to visit their grandfather’s casket before we would leave. Lindsay did but Jacque refused until the last moment.

And then it was like a dam breaking. A torrent of emotion overwhelmed my baby girl. And so I held her and we both cried.

Can you believe that God cries? He does not stand idly by. He is driven, though not controlled, by emotion—anger, joy, grief. He will cry with us. Also, just like with Jacque when I had no words of explanation, often God doesn’t offer any either, though eventually he may.

What I also took from Barry’s message is that our journey with God is not intended to be walked alone. He shared numerous accounts of how God used other people to comfort him, which reminds me to be receptive to God’s promptings and respond obediently. We may never know the full extent of how God touches other people through us.

Take a listen to this video. Visually, it’s somewhat unimpressive, but it’s one of my favorite songs from Sara Groves, who seems to feature the gift of encouragement in her music.

One thought on “A Journey Observed

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