Friday, October 11, 2013

In the silence

Monday was a good day as far as grief goes. I'm still chewing on the whole trusting God thing, and He's still reassuring me that He's here. This past week, I've come across the story of Lazarus no less than four times. I joined a Precepts Bible study on the book of John at our church last week, and the story of Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus was the first reference. A day or so later, I downloaded, and started reading, a free Kindle book (through David C. Cook ebooks) titled When God Breaks Your Heart. Go figure...The author's premise happens to be from the story of Lazarus, also.

By the time I got to the third "coincidence," I knew the LORD was trying to tell me something. Or, as is usually the case, teach me something. The prayer I've prayed ever since becoming a Christian is that I would have a teachable spirit. *I* know how stubborn determined I can be, and I also know that without a teachable spirit there isn't going to be a lot of growth. I know when I'm not willing, so I've also prayed, "Lord, make me willing to be made willing." And one thing is for sure: There are lessons to be learned from grief, alright.

The thing about the story of Lazarus that keeps coming back to me are the words of Jesus. "...If you believe, you will see the glory of God."(John 11:40) I believe He is whispering to me, "Trust me. Just keep believing. Trust me in this and you will see My glory."

God's glory is hard to find, however, amid the cacophony of grief. Grief incessantly hurls insults and yells nasty, discouraging remarks, always quick to remind you of your loss. And when you feel, at the same time, as if God's being silent, Grief's taunts seem believable. You know what it's like to wait with Mary and Martha when you don't see God and wonder where he's at and you keep asking, "When's he going to show up?" "When He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was." (John 11:6) But God makes it clear that His silence and His delay are not a sign of His absence or lack of love. John 11:4 is followed immediately by this: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

Jesus is the only One who can bring healing. Healing must happen. A wound has to heal. There is no middle ground with a wound. It either heals or it doesn't. Doesn't is not an option here, for several reasons. First, it does the rest of my children a HUGE disservice to them if I choose not to accept God's comfort and healing. Second, it, in no way, honors my son's memory. Third, it simply does not glorify God.

Unfortunately, however, I think there is the perception that healing means that we (the bereaved) will look like we did before and be the way we were before. But that's a lie. And the sooner it's recognized as a lie, the sooner real healing can start. Rebuilding life after child loss is way more involved than anyone, even those experiencing it, wants to admit. I am not the same person. That person died the day my child died. My child's death has redefined me, and I am still trying to figure out what that means and what it looks like.  

The story of Lazarus has reminded me that God knows, He cares, and He is working. I know that every parent who has lost a child has felt this: "...we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;  indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves..." (2 Cor. 1:8-9a) Yet reassurance comes in knowing that He is good. " that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,..." (2 Cor. 9b-10)

I need to again hope in Him. While grief screams at the top of his lungs, God whispers in a steady, calm voice. He is whispering to me with gentleness and love the same thing He said to Martha: "Believe and you will see My glory."

Speaking of glory  ̶  This was the sunrise this morning.

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