Sometimes comfort comes in strange forms.
Like not getting hugs.
By the time I arrived at church on Sunday, I had already had a pretty emotional morning. After I came home from a cold, my-face-is-completely-windburned run, I learned that Stuart Scott (an ESPN anchor) died that morning. He was battling his third bout with cancer and was only 49 years old. Scott is one of the reasons I studied sports journalism–he was so unique and had a way of making great highlights seem even more spectacular. You could tell he really loved sports, but you could also tell that he was a genuine person and someone who knew the things that were truly important in life, such as family.
When Keyshawn Johnson started getting choked up while talking about Scott on Sunday NFL Countdown, I had to turn away, and then when Merril Hoge (who also fought his own battle with cancer) began talking about him, I almost lost it. Even though I didn’t actually know Stuart Scott, I’ve looked up to and respected him for years. It’s sad to lose people.
I got to church and was waiting for service to begin, and I started looking around the room as the band started playing the first worship song. I saw a mom lean over and give her son a big hug; I saw a woman hug her friend like they hadn’t seen each other in a while; I saw a man pull his wife close to him; I saw a mother put her arm around her daughter and give her a little squeeze. My thought in that instance: Where the heck is my hug? Yes, I had a brief moment of feeling sorry for myself.
And then I got my hug–in the form of lyrics.
The next song, “Not for a Moment (After All),” was one we don’t sing that often but one I apparently really needed to hear. I think I needed a reminder that I’m never alone in this life and that there is One who will never wrong me, even when it seems like things are worse than they ever could be. The part of the song that truly jumped out at me most was:
And every step, every breath you are there
Every tear, every cry, every prayer
In my hurt, at my worst
When my world falls down
Not for a moment will You forsake me
Even in the dark, even when it’s hard
You will never leave me after all
Yes, sometimes life is just plain hard. Sometimes bad things happen, even to good people. Sometimes you lose people you love. Sometimes you are faced with obstacles that seem insurmountable. Sometimes unexplainable and catastrophic events take place and impact multitudes of people. Sometimes innocent lives are lost. Sometimes you make bad choices. Sometimes your world seems to be caving in around you. Sometimes you cry. Sometimes you watch others cry. Sometimes nothing makes sense. At all.
But, even in all of those times, when it seems like every single person you know has turned and walked away, there is One who is there the whole time. It’s really easy to say God is there when those good things happen to us, but why is it so hard to believe that same truth when life is full of storms? A loving mother would never shut her child out in the middle of a torrential downpour and leave him to suffer; rather, she would do everything in her power to get him back inside safely. Our loving Father would never leave you all alone in the middle of a storm, either. Sometimes it may feel like you’re all by yourself in troubling times, especially when you don’t get the results or answers you want and when you want them, but life is out of our hands–which is actually a good thing. After all.
I won’t try to explain to you why things happen as they do, because I honestly have no idea. In fact, I ask that question so much that it’s probably ridiculous. But I do know that life is much more enjoyable when you’re not worrying about it so much. When Stuart Scott received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs last summer, he said, “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
And, I don’t know about you, but I want to live fearlessly knowing that, after all, I’m never alone.