Sunday night, around 1:30 AM, I was called in to the hospital to be with a family who was experiencing a sudden, shocking tragedy. I hurried to the emergency room, full of prayer and confidence that God was already there before me, uplifting, holding, comforting. I walked into the midst of a large gathering of people experiencing every emotion you could imagine--shock, anger, panic, fear, desperate heartache, hopelessness, confusion, bewilderment. But over the next three hours, I was able to see God work, bringing calm, understanding, comfort, and community. Their pain wasn't gone and won't be gone--maybe for months, or years, maybe never. This family, I knew, was changed forever by the loss of their beloved one. But God's grace was there--with each of us individually and together as a group--and as the moments moved quietly by, I saw hurting, scattered people come together and find a sense of peace in their sharing. Even in this darkest moment, they together found support and strength enough to face the day.
I can say without any doubt--because I have seen it over and over again--that Grace is always there, even (and especially) in the moments we are most broken. Knowing that, the words "Be not afraid" become more real, alive, and possible for me. What is there to fear, when we have the certainty that God is working now and in every moment, and that nothing--not shock, anger, panic, fear, desperate heartache, hopelessness, confusion, or bewilderment, not even death itself--can separate us from God's Love?