After a conversation with a dear friend, I hung up the phone with an ache in my heart. Words exchanged and thoughts considered caused my chest to contract and upon reflection, I would equate the feeling similar to my heart being placed in a blender and poured out on the road for a reckless matatu (Kenyan bus) to drive over. Is this description exaggerating a bit? Perhaps, but none the less, it's how I felt in the moment.
As I walked home from work that afternoon I thought of the half empty (yes, at this point my outlook made it seem half empty vs half full) bottle of wine sitting in my fridge and how easy it would be to drown my sorrows with the comfort of a little escapism. I wondered if this situation warranted me getting drunk for the first time and decided it did not. In all this I realized that it's an easy thing to do, turning to a drunken escape, when you're feeling so broken.
That night I cried myself to sleep. Between the sobs I dozed off until I was too exhausted to weep anymore. I know at this point you must be wondering what could have happened that my reaction would be so severe. My point in this post is not to focus on the who or what that made me feel this way but rather on the grace of God that is present in my story.
In the morning I woke up not feeling so broken, rest has a way of bringing a sweet forgetfulness to the hurts of yesterday... at least for me. Though my heart felt like it had been returned to my chest, it was still a broken mess. Though the extremity of my emotions had subsided, the residing pain had not vacated. Knowing that I needed a time away with jesus, I opened my Bible to continue my quest to read through scriptures in the course of this year. I opened to Luke. I read the part about new wine in old wineskins and vise versa, then after, what I had never seen before, a sentence jumped out at me. Jesus said, "And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, 'The old is better.'" This took me back to my first experience with the Holy Spirit's presence in my life and how awesome and powerful it was. Yet, even as awe-striking and life changing as it might have been, it didn't compare to that moment walking with God daily in a growing maturity. His dept and love for me was shown in such a way that we have a familiar knowing of each other. Holy Spirit is no longer someone new and strange. i had fear when we first met but now, we walk together and He guides me in stillness. A thing far greater than when I began this journey with Him.
As I sat in the quietness of my room, alone with the Spirit of God and as I meditated on the Scripture I had just read, I was reminded of how Paul instructed believers not to be filled with wine but to be drunk on the Spirit. This took a whole new meaning for me as just the night before I wrestled with wanting to escape reality. Paul's command here was that we turn to our Savior and our true Comforter in our times of despair. That instead of trying to escape our present pain through drunken stuper, we turn to Jesus and lay our pain at His feet. We invitee the Comforter to heal our brokenness.
In the same way, Paul says that he rejoices in his suffering and that it is for Comfort's sake (1 Cor 1:5-7) that he embraces the pains of life. That he may truly know the comfort and peace the Spirit brings. I can honestly say that this morning, as I say in God's presence I felt comfort in the depths of my soul that far outweighed the anguish of the day before. I would not have known this comfort if it had not been for my pain. I say with Paul that for this reason, I rejoice in my suffering because through it, I experience a new depth of God's love and grace towards me.
I did not receive any directions for what I should do, I did not hear God tell me that I had been right or wrong the day before, I did not even hear him say anything about the future of this friendship under fire. All I know is that the presence of God was tangible, and like a bear hug from your Dad that brings so much comfort, God's presence embraced me in all my brokenness and placed the pieces of my heart back together.
I want to encourage you today. If you are struggling or hurt or in a place of anguish, allow the Spirit of God to be your comforter. Don't numb the pain through escaping reality, be it through alcohol, movies, entertainment, etc. but embrace it because it may just be the tool God is using to bring you closer to Him. We appreciate food so much more when we are hungry. Perhaps your situation is creating in you a hunger, and a need, for God's comfort.