It was a bit like looking in a time warp mirror. There sat my daughter, my oldest daughter. The one that has always been told she looks so much like me. When she was about 8 my favorite Tante, my Tante Bitta saw her and started to laugh. In Norwegian I could understand she said “she looks just like you did when you were that age.”
As an adult, we still look a lot alike. Her youngest daughter looks just like her (and me). It’s like the two of us all over again but with dark hair. My daughter is beautiful. The stress in her face often hides it. I have often wondered how she could look like me and still be beautiful.
As I sat across a table from her at a local IHOP, I heard her lament. Trouble, sorrow, and want never seem to be far from her. This time her lament was deep. Life is beating her up once again. I have admitted long ago my inability to fix things. Oh but I wish I could. I always look for magic wands and such, but her problems aren’t easily solved.
My life has been filled with troubles. It’s not been an easy life by anyone standards. But when I compare it to that of my beautiful first born daughter, I realize my life has been much easier. I wish it were the other way around. I wish her life was only filled with joy and happiness.
She sounded just like me when she said, “I’d wish for something good but that would mean that I had a life of luck and miracles.” I heard myself. I saw myself. I saw that same gaze of despair. I wondered did she learn it from me?
I wanted to say all those things that people say to me.
Things like “oh it will get better!”
Or maybe quote the Bible and say “All things work together for good.”
I know a few people who do that and when they’ve done it to me when I’m feeling my worst, I just want to scream at them to shut up! I flunked Polyanna-ism. I've seen too much pain for that. Life is very harsh sometimes. Often there are no good answers. Hopes die. Dreams die. People die. Reality sets in and you look to the heavens and say “can I get a break?”
It’s Holy Week. I wonder if Jesus wondered if He could get a break. I wonder when He sweat those drops of blood asking for the cup to be removed in Gethsemane, if He would have wanted the disciples to tell him:
Just wait awhile, Paul’s going to write in Romans before long: “All things work together for good.”
Jesus knew that. But He asked for prayer, not words. He asked His disciples to sit with Him and pray. He cried out His deepest agony to His Father. Waiting and lamenting in prayer for those in pain. Right now, that’s the best she can do, and the best I can do. It’s the best anyone can do.
The cross became our victory. Does God always make something good out of bad and pain? I honestly don’t know. But I do know, He’ll never leave us or forsake us.
Whose pain can you help carry in prayer this Holy Week?