Old Tales

“I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?”

These words of Samwise Gamgee have been roaming around my head these past 24 hours.

Sam asks this question because he, as Sam does so well, is hoping to encourage Frodo that their journey filled with hardships is going to be worth it.  Where just like the heroes of the old adventure tales, in the end the difficulty would make sense because they would see the tale in its entirety.

Today, I ask Sam’s question.  But, I confess, not with his optimism.

What sort of tale, indeed.

I feel like everywhere I turn right now, I see people struggling with deep, suffocating loss.  With stuff that really makes no sense, plot twists in this tale that seem completely misplaced.  My heart feels weary just in the watching, in the bearing of others’ burdens.  What must it be like to be one closest to this loss?  To be centered in these tales?  I can’t imagine.  The sidelines hurts bad enough.

Today, I feel weary from it.

I’ve caught that word tale somewhere else lately, too.  It’s woven into an Andrew Peterson song that has been on repeat in my brain.  In his characteristically clever way, Peterson paints the picture of God catching the tears of us broken people, and one day allowing us to look back on those tears – which we will see as old tales.

But all day today, I’ve been wondering how some of these tears could ever be known as old tales.  Old tales are stories worth repeating.  Old tales are stories that inspire.  Old tales are stories that we connect with, long for, love.

That doesn’t sound like these tears.

Oh, but I must know, I must cling to the fact that these tales are not over.   The Author has not reached a plot twist He didn’t see coming.  He is still writing the tale.  And when needed, He sets aside His pen to catch the tears of the broken.

And He whispers hope.  He gives warm assurance of His presence.  He gently reminds that He is not done with this tale.

Elizabeth Elliot once wrote this: “Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ashes.”

I claim that tonight for the hurting.  This tale you’ve fallen into?  It might look like a pit of ashes right now, but He’s not done.  It doesn’t end here.

He’s not finished.  And when He will be, it will be a tale marked by His faithfulness.  A tale that shows His sweet grace.

What a tale, indeed.

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