I continue to receive the GriefShare daily emails and find them still to be helpful, for the most part. It is different reading them now, however. The pain isn't like it was 14 months ago. The grief is most certainly still there, but it has changed in form. I'd say it's sort of like looking through different eyeglass lenses. The landscape of loss and life appear radically different than a year ago when reading the devotions through the thick haze of excruciating pain.
I have seen, and experienced, an abundance of God's grace this last year. I look back and literally shake my head when I think of how we have survived such a devastating loss and I don't at all doubt that God gives grace. But. But I struggle. I struggle (read that as "argue") with certain statements. Statements like Romans 5:3 that say "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance..." Really? I have to be honest and say that I don't glory in my sufferings. And I certainly would disagree and say that I have had enough perseverance, thank you very much.
I have been dealing with sciatic nerve pain due to a herniated disk in my lower back since April. While back pain may seem unrelated to grief, it is similar in many ways. Daily, incessant physical pain is not something one ever quite forgets. One might be able to "put it aside" for a brief time and actually function to some degree, but the pain is always there, unpredictable in when it will return or flare up, much like the ambush of emotional pain related to grief. The temptation to kill physical pain is no different than the temptation to kill emotional pain, either.
So here I sit, blogging at 1:00am, tired and in pain with an ice pack placed strategically between the computer chair and my back. Ibuprofen is not an option because a cortisone shot is scheduled for early afternoon. But this lack of sleep leaves me wondering, "Where is God's grace?" I need sleep. I need relief. Is this herniated disk really producing perseverance? How can the death of my son "work together for good?" (Again, Romans) I don't get it. I don't understand suffering.
As I sat down at the computer with the ice pack, I checked my email, which is when I came across the GriefShare devotion from Day 49. The devotions always end with different resources highlighted at the end of them. What caught my eye was the title of the recommended book from the GriefShare HelpCenter. It was a book titled, "When Will My Life Not Suck? Authentic Hope for the Disillusioned."
Obviously, that's a title a person in pain is intrigued by! I pulled up another browser for Amazon's website and typed in the title. I was hoping to find a "click to look inside" tab. I wasn't disappointed. I read all of the pages it would allow one to read and I now have yet another book on the wishlist. The author writes well and honestly. He makes reference to the Apostle Paul, and Paul's candidness about his struggles. I can identify. If there is one thing about this grief journey, and about my life, that I want people to know, it's that believers' lives are not about being perfect. It is, in fact, quite the opposite. It is all about God's grace, God's forgiveness, His character, and the completed work of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross. Through those things, we are being perfected.
I strive to blog truthfully, acknowledging that I fall daily into sin, but knowing all the while that my GOD loves me, forgives me, and is always extending grace. I may not feel it, but I can rest in knowing it.