Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Grief

"Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name..."

I found myself singing through that chorus in my mind as the tears were welling up in my soul and my eyes. Life isn't easy. I attended a funeral on Monday for someone I grew up with; someone with a Mom & Dad, a sister, a wife, three beautiful daughters and so many more friends. Someone whose life had touched so many people...someone who practiced those "random/anonymous" acts of kindness...someone who had a strong faith in Christ and yet, whose life ended prematurely. He had somehow reached the pit, and saw the only way out as taking his own life. He had so much more to offer, so much more to give, so much more...

Nothing prepares you for moments like these. It is hard to deal with your own grief, but even harder to watch others try and deal with their grief. Times like these render the "Christian cliches" meaningless; cliches that we and I are so quick to offer others. Times like these cause us all to question; to look deep inside ourselves and search for answers and meaning.

I was sharing the car with someone, driving from the cemetary to the place the reception was held and was asked the question; "We always hear that [believers] go to heaven when they die and are there with Jesus, but how do we know that it's true?" In my head I had a million ways to answer that question; verses to quote, Scriptures to recite, things I could have said. Instead, I said nothing. The person who asked the question already knew all those answers that I could have given, and, I sensed, was asking that question rhetorically.

Through all my tears, all my questions, after searching my own heart, these thoughts stuck out to me more than others;
1) How do you process grief if you don't have a relationship with Jesus? He is what gives me what no man or woman can live without; HOPE.
2) When you boil it all down, all of Christianity boiled down to one single word, it is this; FAITH.
3) God grieves. John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible; "Jesus wept" - but in these two words, we catch a glimpse of God that we don't often see or stop to consider; God grieves too.
4) It all boils down to this; TRUST. Do we trust God enough to let Him be Him when what is happening all around us doesn't make sense? Do we trust His wisdom, His Sovereignty? Or, are we quick to turn on Him, blame Him, curse Him?

There are seasons in life; seasons of unspeakable joy and happiness, seasons of unbearable grief and anger. Seasons of extreme faith, and seasons of grave doubt. I leave you with this exhortation:

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23)

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