Living the Truth in Broken Relationships

I didn’t want to go.

At. All.

Normally I would be excited to help lead a worship night, but this time I knew there was likely to be someone in attendance who I was struggling with. There had been some things said and done that were profoundly hurtful and unacceptable, and I had no desire to see this woman, much less worship together.

My guitar weighed a thousand pounds and my footsteps were even heavier as I entered the room, praying the whole time for the ability to worship in spite of the company. The woman was there already, and as anger bubbled in my chest I had to fight the urge to turn and walk out the door.

Breathe. Grit my teeth. Just get through the evening… Please let me worship even though she’s here.

As I closed my eyes and the music began, the noise in my head started to die away and I was able to focus on the truth of the words we were singing. Several minutes passed before it hit me that the woman’s presence was not a distraction for me.

Wow, Lord, I thought. Thank you for letting me worship in spite of her being here.

His response pressing quietly into my spirit stopped me cold.

Not in spite of. Because of.

Wait. What???

I opened my eyes in confusion, my gaze landing on her bent head and upraised hands, and the sight suddenly struck me as true. True beyond this moment, beyond these walls. True into eternity.

Not in spite of. Because of.

Because of this woman whose story doesn’t end here in this place of wounds and wounding. Because of my own story that doesn’t end here either. Because this time, these years of living under sin’s shadow, this chapter is short. And the reality that will go on and on is one where we’ll be standing shoulder-to-shoulder, finally clear eyed and whole.

The story isn’t over yet.

Relationships tangled up here in time can be a mess. Every one of us is working through some degree of pain and fear and areas of need, and sometimes we encounter people whose patterns of behavior are dangerous to our wellbeing, as well as their own. Sometimes limiting or even ending a relationship is necessary to prevent more significant wounding than has already occurred. Difficult and broken relationships are a reality of life on this side.

But here’s a bigger reality…

The story isn’t over yet.

It’s true that there’s not much more painful than watching a relationship with someone you love come apart at the seams.

But here’s a truer truth…

The story isn’t over yet.

We can’t trace it yet, the path already carved through long seasons of wilderness, leading further up and further in. We can’t see yet how these soul blows that feel like destruction are also beating apart our chains. We can’t understand yet how God is chasing and reaching, gathering up the shards of even the most shattered parts of our stories to piece us together into a color-rich masterpiece all luminous with His glory.

We don’t know where this thing that feels so out of control is really headed.

But the story isn’t over yet.

Living the truth in broken relationships means living with not-yet eyes. I’m not who I’m going to be, not yet. That person standing armed for yet another emotional battle, she isn’t who she’s becoming, not yet. That prodigal hiding his heart behind lies, his road isn’t set in stone. Not even kind of. There’s always a place for open handed hope, the kind that gives God’s Spirit room to work how and when he knows is best.

Living with not-yet eyes lets us respond with a not-yet love, beyond the fear or anger we may feel now, from a place of steady confidence in the Healer. No need to control or force or try to predict the future. He has it. He has them. He has us.

And He lives in the not-yet, that place where the story began, here where He sustains us in the middle, and there where this short chapter flows into an endless tomorrow.

He is the end of the story.

 “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’” ~Revelation 21:3-4 (NLT)

1 Comment

  1. Melanie Newton
    Mar 29, 2018

    So glad it isn’t over yet because of Jesus!

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