Precious Oil, Mingled with Tears

Hope happens here at this nexus of bitter and sweet. /

I was doing dishes in the kitchen when I heard the chorus of a song on an old playlist faintly playing on our iPod in the background.

I sang the lyrics to myself while rinsing food off plates, distracted by the task and unaware of the words, until I remembered. These words describing the worship that comes from the place of suffering had rocked me to sleep at night when my night was starless. These words were my lullaby when I was without words for my pain.

This wasn’t just background music to me once. It was my anthem.

I had listened to that song while curling my body into a ball in my bed and on my bedroom floor and on the family room couch, reaching for words that I didn’t feel in an effort to frame a story with God’s truth. I had listened to that song in my car while driving home from baby showers, singing its truths over myself and trying to believe them. I had listened to that song in my bedroom after arguments with Nate, in my loneliness on Sunday afternoons, and in my prayer room as I brought my pain, again, to a Father who never tired of my open heart.

I stood in my kitchen and wept over the years past. My pain had not disappeared, but it had diminished. Circumstances were no longer at the peak of perplexity. But the music took me back to the waves of grief and loss and all the questions wrapped around a season I wasn’t sure would ever end.

Just as soon as I remembered the sharp moments of pain, I remembered the nearness of the Father, who came right into the middle of them. Both memories—the sting of pain and the balm of his coming to me in my pain—were vibrant, real again, but it was now as if his presence during that pain overshadowed the memory of the pain itself. ...

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Also in this Issue

Issue 18 / March 19, 2015
  1. Editors’ Note
  2. The Dance of Suffering and Love

    What to do with our grief for the world. /

  3. Wheat and Bread by the Numbers

    Common foods, rich with history and biblical meaning. /

  4. Hope

    ‘It is the singular gift / we cannot destroy in ourselves’ /

  5. Wonder on the Web

    Links to amazing stuff /

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