I am glad to see 2014 go. There were a lot of good times it is true, yet it is marked by tragedy and trials as well.
The biggest trial that struck me personally was in the summer. In July we were surprised to discover a third little Blythe was on the way. This was great news and from the start we couldn't wait to meet our dear child. However a bitter edge quickly followed that joy. Morning sickness struck fast and it struck very hard. I watched up close as my family suffered both through and because of me. Paden carried the extra burden of not only having a sick wife, but having an absent wife in all but body. I couldn't pick up my baby that just really needed to be held. I couldn't give my husband the embrace I knew he needed. I couldn't find amusement or joy in anything. I experienced depression that hung heavy and unyielding. I will never forget the first morning I felt well enough to sit up in a chair and hold a cup of coffee. I think I only took about three sips, but it was the first time that I had experienced even the smallest kind of pleasure in what seemed like forever and I almost cried.
Friends close to us have gone through much harder trials. One young friend was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer and looks forward to painful and intense treatment. Another discovered cancer had returned after an all too brief respite. Then there is the tragedy you don't get over but simply must learn to live with. A friend lost their unborn child. A teenage girl was killed in a car wreck. And now this morning, on the last day of 2014, we wake to hear death has stolen a dear family friend after a sudden illness that hardly left his family time to say goodbye.
Because of sin our lives are plagued with tragedy and grief; the hardest being death. We are promised that God will one day wipe away those tears and that pain and death will no longer be a part of our lives. But when you are in the midst of these trials, it is almost impossible to feel the comfort of this future hope. We feel the pain, hurt, and loss and are swallowed up by it. All we can do is mourn with those who mourn, knowing nothing we do or say can heal what death has broken.
But Christ has promised to heal even what death breaks. We are carried through the trials and are given joy again though we may remain broken. We will sit and enjoy that cup of coffee. We will hold our babies and watch them learn to take their first steps and say their first words. We will enjoy the love of our spouses. The fellowship of good friends. The job promotion. The excitement of new opportunities. The long awaited vacation. The laughter of good company and wine. The beauty in life around us. The quiet evenings of a peaceful home. Although trials may leave us broken, God gives joys and promises to one day take away all pain and death.
So while at the end of 2014 I, along with so many others, mourn an untimely death, in faith I know I will begin 2015 comforted by Christ. Our brokenness will be healed and we will be given joys in the meantime.
This is the comfort of Christ.