Last Christmas, I was a mess. Four months prior, I lost my first child- a miracle child- to miscarriage. My world stopped spinning for a while and so much offended me. Things that were part of my regular rhythms weren’t cutting it for my broken heart. Going to church didn’t feel safe for me, but I went anyway. I was surrounded by pregnant ladies, due around the same time I had been. Embarrassingly, even the miraculous story of Mary and baby Jesus sort of offended me during my season of fresh wounds. It seemed like everyone in the world could deliver a healthy baby, but me. I know it wasn’t true, but I felt so alone. So I retreated to a place of shelter, where God stopped with me to sort through the pain, while the rest of the world kept moving. He reminded me that I was not alone. And eventually, I wasn’t so offended.
In my retreat, I learned more about Immanuel than ever before. The Lord gave me the strongest impression that our child was a son. During my first days of loss, strangely, I thought of my great grandfather, Manuel Elias, whom I had never met. He was not a picture perfect man, but I was provoked to look up the meaning of his name. I had a sneaking suspicion his was the name we were to give our son. “God is with us. Jehovah is good.” These are the powerful definitions of those two strong names.
In my retreat, I started thinking about how my Manuel is now tucked in safely with Im(manuel). When the world kept on rushing, God came close to me— right where I was in my halted season to demonstrate that He is good, even when I am not the slightest bit ok. He tucked me into His arms by the power of His strong name, just as He had done for my son.
It’s ok to retreat while you try to get up off shattered ground when life insults you as it continues to spin on as usual. But retreat to the One named Immanuel who grew up to be the man that died and was resurrected so that you could be resurrected too.
God is with you, friend. And He is good. Whatever has driven you away from the offenses of the world can lead you to be tucked safely in Immanuel’s arms.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” from James 4:8 ESV