Grief & Joy on New Year's Eve.

Grief is a rogue wave ambushing you unexpectedly. It grabs you bythe throat, silencing your voice, pulling you down, down without so much as a breath.

Grief is a truth-teller. It strips you down to your barest, rawest core. All your facades are exposed in the glaring light of grief. There's no hiding from it. Either what you believe is real or it's all a shameful charade.

Grief is inescapable. It's as much a part of life as joy. Indeed, the two seem inextricably joined. At New Year's Eve, I experience grief and joy as two equal warriors battling over the land of my soul.

It's a matter of timing---a grief anniversary. Several years ago near this time I lost something very precious.

My grief sent me searching for answers. Why God, WHY?

I needed it to mean something. It was too powerful to mean nothing. It threatened to rip me apart, turn me inside out, empty me out--a shriveled soul with a raisin heart rattling around inside.

It threatened to shipwreck my faith.

I never found the answers I wanted. I found something better. This year, I found it again.

I slip inside the doors, melt into a pew, collapse to my knees. Slowly, painfully, I lift my eyes. There He is, bloody and wounded, hanging in agony from a cross.

He is my answer.

The chastisement for our peace [was] upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isa. 53:5

God never gave me the answers I wanted. But He granted the grace to bear the grief.

And every year on New Year's Eve, I can only be grateful.

Because He's given the best gift of all: Himself.