I had to go to the doctor last week.
It wasn’t for anything major, and for most people, that wouldn’t cause a wave, but for me it caused floods of PTSD symptoms. A panic attack at work, and hours of battling catastrophic thinking and hyperventilating, I clung to the only help I could.
Isn’t it Him, always only Him, the Rock that is higher than I, the hiding place I have?
A few days later, the doctor ordered blood work. How could I get that needle in my arm again? That needle that haunted me countless times last year, that left my arm constantly bruised and abused, green and blue and swollen with always reminders.
We have to check your HCG again, try to see if your baby’s going to die or live, and so I would lay out my arm and wince at the entrance of sharp, and try not to see red. We have to check your HCG again, see if it’s cleared your body yet, see if you’re clear of your baby’s life. Stab.
So many dreaded blood draws, but the time of year had Easter on my mind and every single time that needle pierced my skin, my arm laid out, He laid it out in my mind crystal clear- “He was pierced for our transgressions.”
The needle stabbed my skin and my mind filled with that reminder, of my sin stabbing Him, of His choosing the piercings, slayed through, out of love.
As time went on the lab work got even harder, making me almost crazy out of the repetitive pain of it all, the endless HCG tracking, the reminder of the loss. The cold room, the awkward chair, the laying out of the left arm stained colors of bruising on various veins. The tight band wrapped around muscles, waiting for swelling, ready for piercing. Another tube of blood handed over to confirm death.
But then, every relentless time, He relentlessly reminded me, He was pierced for our transgressions.
How many countless ways does the cross give the sufferer hope?
I can hardly grasp it all. The piercing pain at a level we cannot fathom, blood poured out, death swallows. But then, we watch, we see, the glory.
The blood that doesn’t lead to death, but to life. Death swallowed up in victory. It is finished, the enemy defeated.
A few days ago, my arm laid out again, the band wraps around, the swelling comes, and it’s Easter time and there’s too many triggers. The needle is lifted, and I look away.
Would I have looked away from Him? I want to stay at the cross, want to stay by His side, but would I? I look back on this last year, at the doubt, at the fear. And I know the answer, I know in me I would have fled.
If I had stayed it would have been a miracle.
And isn’t it? Isn’t this the miracle, the very real miracle? That I’ve stayed, and I know it’s not of me, it couldn’t be, but He’s held me through it all and He won’t for the love of me let me go.
The needle pierces. He was pierced for our transgressions, I say it strong in my mind.
By His wounds we are healed.
I want to be healed, but I still feel so wounded. But I look to the only help I can, the God-man who doesn’t just care about us in our suffering, but who suffered. Who endured the trauma and drank the cup of injustice and loss and searing pain. This Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief, He is not above our pain, but in it, feeling it, enduring it with us.
Conquering it, hijacking it, turning it for good.
Tonight I nurse sick kids at home, and feel wet windy air through the open window. And I dwell on it, this gift of His suffering.
And it’s Friday night, only Friday. That tension of time before Sunday, the in-the-middle of suffering and restoration. We want to already sing the Easter songs and declare “But Sunday”; but we have to let ourselves sit in the tension of Friday and Saturday.
Because this is where we often live, waiting restoration, waiting the fixing, waiting the empty tomb. We stand at tombs that are anything but empty and our arms too often are, and our hearts are broken as the broken world dizzily swirls around us. Can we trust? Can we wait? When we cannot see, when it all seems lost, when defeat mocks- can we believe Sunday is coming? That the loss we see is truly all gain?
Only by grace.
And He gives us more grace, and I look to Him, and think of that cross, the worst of pain and greatest of victories, and this is hope.
It’s never too far gone for Him.
Don’t stop visiting that tomb, that place of your grief, because one day when you go it will be empty.
Resurrection is coming.