Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Getting through the Night

I pulled Eugenia Price’s book, Getting Through the Night, from my book shelf and opened its coverpage after dog-eared page of this book is covered with ink underlines. Well loved and well used. I reflected on the timing of this book being brought to mind given current events.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the Georgia Writer’s Hall of Fame, where four writers were inducted into the prestigious group, one of them posthumouslya favorite of mineEugenia Price.

On one of two shelves in my bookcase dedicated to those writers who have especially inspired me, her books occupy almost a third of a shelf.

Many in Georgia know her for her historical fiction, the St. Simons Trilogy, the Georgia Trilogy, and the Savannah Quartet.
But I have always loved her nonfiction, excited to find vintage signed copies. Yesterday, I was honored to meet her niece.

As I opened Getting Through the Night, my heart was heavy thinking about the tragedy in Texas where folks gathered in a small country church on Sunday morning to worship. As they perhaps leafed through a hymnal, read their Bible, or were in prayer, the heart of evil entered their sacred space.

Price begins her book on grief with that familiar scripture from Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

When we see these horrific images from Texas and see even veteran newscasters struggle to keep their composure, we wonder how anyone could ever get to joy. How would all these grieving people, a whole town of them, a whole state of them, and well, maybe even a whole country of them get through the nighta night that might seem to have no end?

Price writes, “God does promise that your night of weeping can end. He does not promise that you will be unscarred as though you had never loved; he does not promise that you will ever stop missing or even hurting.”

But, she challenges us with this thought, “Because of his dreams and plans for us, we can be whole again.”

Whole seems elusive in a situation like this, but we take comfort that it is God’s longing for us. He has not given up on our healing and consolation. He has not abandoned us to the evil.

Of course, the ever present why it all happened is with us.

Price, too, loved the writings of C.S. Lewis and wrote, ”We, in our agony, struggle to pull God down to where we are and force Him to explain that which cannot be explained. C.S. Lewis wrote: ‘Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? . . . All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we askhalf our theological and metaphysical problemsare like that.’”

The why of it all probably falls into categories like these, unanswerable this side of heaven.

It is true the night may drag on, but one distant day, there will be joy because God has promised it. In the mean time, we stand with our friends in Texas. Grieving, praying, and crying with you.

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