I didn’t think much about this birthday until my walk this morning. Then, as I pondered turning 46, I was filled with gratitude, for even in this world broken by sorrow, life remains a gift.
Yesterday, during the writing process, I was thinking about Kayla Jean Mueller, one of my great heroes of the faith. Sometimes, I imagine the moment when we all get to heaven (after the rapture) like the opening of the gates of Disneyworld. Everyone will rush in, but instead of making a beeline for The Rockin Rollercoaster or Everest, they will rush to meet legendary men and women of the Bible. Some will head straight for Moses, Ruth, Josiah, or Mary. There is bound to be a huge line in front of poor Eve’s house. For centuries, women have been threatening to look her up in paradise to give her a piece of their minds.
I think I will ask for directions to Kayla Jean’s house. I imagine having a cup of tea with her, sitting hand in hand in peaceful silence broken only by the whispered words, “He is faithful…”
Before Kayla Jean’s death, she was able to smuggle a letter to her family from her captivity in Syria. In it she said,
I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else….+ by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall.
Oh, yes…Kayla Jean…I hear you. He is faithful.
So on my 46th birthday, I stand with Kayla Jean in testimony to just who God is…
He is a God who is near to the broken-hearted. (Ps. 147:3)
He is a God who defends the oppressed. (Ps. 9:9)
He is a God who gathers those who are willing near his heart, to protect them the way a mama hen shields her chicks under her wings. (Mt. 23:37)
He bends low to hear the cry of the suffering (Ps. 86:1)
And He gently wraps His arms around them, “cradling them in freefall.”
These…were the lessons of my 46th year of life. Oh, they were painful lessons to be certain, but because of them I can look toward 47 with steady eyes and a peaceful heart, my eyes fixed on the One who holds me in His hand.