When you walk with grief… it’s hard to ‘feel‘ much.
God is there.
People are around.
But not much shows its color. Flavors fade. It’s slower inside your head. Kinda numb all over, things that might have grabbed your attention… don’t. That includes your faith. It affects your friendships… your family. It dulls your heart and mind, makes us feel empty inside. Like the dentist numbed more than just our tooth.
I’ve talked with lots of folks walking with grief. The death of a loved one… father, mother, friend, lover, wife, son, or daughter… they say the same basic things. It hurts more than you might have expected... takes time to come ‘back’ from it. And it does.
So… when that grief grows to include your family at large, it wears down your parents heart and steals hope. We think we should be providing the role of comforter – that we should be ‘encouraging’ our kids…we should be strong for them.
But we’re not.
We feel our vitality fade as we can’t help but linger on the pain of knowing… we won’t see that person again. We won’t share a coffee or meal or story some ‘other’ time. Painfully… absence becomes clearer, we won’t… they are gone.
At least for now.
The truth is…Eternity is a mystery all it’s own. Unknowable and infinite, we ‘trust’ that God is real and true. That heaven is up and out there and that the cross of Christ is everything it claims to be. That’s what makes us ‘Christian’.
But that’s in the future… living in today, we walk with GRIEF.
We struggle with Faith.
All of us.
If you are right now… then please take comfort in these illuminating words from one of my favorite authors.
“Has God abandoned us? Did we not pray enough? Is this just something we accept as “part of life,” suck it up, even though it breaks our hearts? After a while, the accumulation of event after event that we do not like and do not understand erodes our confidence that we are part of something grand and good, and reduces us to a survivalist mind-set.
I know, I know—we’ve been told that we matter to God. And part of us partly believes it. But life has a way of chipping away at that conviction, undermining our settled belief that he means us well. I mean, if that’s true, then why didn’t he _______? Fill in the blank. Heal your mom. Save your marriage. Get you married. Help you out more.
Either (a) we’re blowing it, or (b) God is holding out on us. Or some combination of both, which is where most people land. Think about it. Isn’t this where you land, with all the things that haven’t gone the way you’d hoped and wanted?”
Quote source; from “Waking the Dead” by John Eldredge.
Psalm 42 is written by ‘the’ awesome and epic Hebrew King David, (covenant maker with God and in the royal line of Christ himself… but reading his words strongly suggest he battled with the pangs of grief. That he truly felt the powerful drag of depression and despair… read it. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/…
Be encouraged. No matter what you can or cannot ‘feel’ today. No matter what grief is pulling you down… your God is good, you are created and unique. That means you’re day and life are and will be significant! It also means whomever you’re grieving was also unique and significant and worthy of your love, and grief.
My dad died on Ash Wednesday, March 1st 2017.
Grief part 2….
My brother’s wife is fading. My precious and only sister in law… mother of three; Judy Mathias is nearing her end… a battle with brain cancer lost.
She has days to live.
Her family comes to care and provide for her. To lend help to my brother, to hug their three beautiful kids and to say good-bye to Judy.
It’s tragic, and all of us must walk through it… but here’s the twist… in the middle of it all, a daughter’s wedding day.
Our grandfather/ dad dies… and my daughter is married less than a week later. Now my brothers wife is about to pass and he has a daughters wedding set for days from now.
For both of us … we’re reeling in some kind of emotional shock-wave. Uncharted water so to speak…. We’ve got no way to sort it all out emotionally. No way to make sense of the surges of our joy and grief and frustration.
The death of my father heavy on my mind, I try to comfort my brother and his family in the midst of their suffering… The truth of these circumstances remind me painfully, each season of life is completely out of my control –
In that ‘helplessness’ of loosing control we can go spastic or relax. We can trust in our God or curse His face… we can still choose to cling to “hope”. To believe that there must be a purpose for it all. To ask for Gods comfort and Redemptive touch in the very messy moment.
As the psalm says…
I’m learning… suffering brings profound clarity to our lives… a wrestling away of our personal agenda’s and petty ‘little’ wrongs. It reveals the ways we try to ‘use’ God when we need him… a way to fix our problems… suffering illuminates a path much more intimate and true and way less manipulative. One of knowing our Father and of allowing ourselves to be known by Him… and that hidden knowledge changes us.
Tozer says it like this… ““O, God, we don’t want anything You have, we want You.” That’s the cry of a soul on its way up.” From his book, Success and the Christian, 29.