Scruffy and I were in the worship service at church the other day. He looked over at me and asked: “Do you think that’s true?”
I paused. The line of the song said: “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t cure.” Now both Scruffy and I have weathered our share of sorrow, Scruff more than most. Were we cured when we came to Christ? My spirit, soaring with the beauty of the song, said “Yes!” My heart, broken and changed and weighed down by the tragedies that we have seen said “No!”
“Yes and No,” I told him. I still stand by that answer.
We see so many kids walk through the doors at camp. Innocence and joy, exuberance and fun, sorrow and heartbreak. So many children. So many stories. Some that would make you weep.
That song reminded me of the movie, Star Trek 5. Not the best of the Star Trek movies by far, but thought provoking. Spock’s brother, a strange priest character with the power to remove pain from the human heart, is gathering a mob of incredibly peaceful followers. Several of the Enterprise’s crew let him work his magic and are eerily happy with the results. But Captain Kirk refuses. “I need my pain. My pain makes me who I am!”
And what of God? Is He like Spock’s brother, washing the heart and human psyche clean of every wound? Is He like Kirk, who believes that to erase the stain of life would be to erase what a soul has become? I have mentioned this before, but I think this verse says it best.
Matthew 25:26b–“So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?”
In the parable of the talents, the lazy servant is afraid of his fierce master, who “harvests where he has not sown and gathers where he has not scattered seed.” Now, every analogy breaks apart at some point. Perhaps this is the part of the parable that does not describe God. How can it? That doesn’t seem very honest . . . and yet. I have seen God harvesting faith, love, hope, peace, joy, patience . . . all of the fruits of the Spirit out of troubles and situations that God did not plant. God does not sin and He does not tempt people to sin and yet, out of the terrible tragedy of this dark and stormy world, He brings forth an amazing harvest.
And so my answer is still “Yes and No.”
Yes, I have found healing in God. No, I will never be the same after walking through the valley of the shadow of death. I am changed. But while I would throw the sorrow away in an instant, I do not wish to erase the strength I have gained, the understanding I now carry, the good that has come about. I think God can do incredible things with a blackened, devastated field that he did not sow with hurt. He is not above swooping in like a pirate and taking an abundant harvest from even such a terrible place. He can work miracles with the most broken and desolated of souls. I have seen it with my own eyes. Look around. Look within. Perhaps you have seen it too.