Friday, August 28, 2015

The quiet days of grief

Surrendering in God is a beautiful thing, and the peace that follows surrender is unsurpassed. The raging waters settle and there is little that resembles the storm that surged only hours before. There is quiet in the soul. There is acceptance without resentment. There is peace. These are the days of grief that I did not, could not, imagine when in the midst of the tsunami of our child loss. These are the quiet days of grief.

With the ebb and flow of sorrow's pain, I often think of the pain scale used in the medical field. Patients are asked to rate their pain on a scale of one to ten, with ten being unbearable. If I were to rate my pain most days, I would give it a 2. Some days a 1. Some days a 3. But for the most part, it stays below a 5. (Those dreaded "anniversaries," birthdays, holidays, etc. often exceed a 7, most a 9 or 10.) Never, however, is the pain completely gone. Instead, sorrow's silent presence in my heart has become white noise.

I continue to fill my mind with truth, still reminding myself that Matt is alive. Driving past the cemetery the other day, I caught myself thinking, "I had a son." Thankfully, I immediately countered my own thoughts with "No, I have a son. He is alive in heaven, and I will see him again. He is at my Father's house." (The idea of Matt being at my Father's house came from reading about the death of Anne Graham Lotz' husband, Danny.) Speaking God's truth about death becomes the life jacket I wear when the waves of grief assail.

The surrender, this trust again in God, has deepened my desire for joy and rekindled my hunger for Christ. I thirst for a restored closeness with Jesus. I recently shared with a friend about how my relationship with God the last several months had changed, and she said, "It's not that you've left God, but it's more like the relationship went from being eye to eye, you and God looking into one another's faces, to one where you're no longer facing each other, but instead, you are walking side by side." Yes, that was it exactly. And now, I am wanting to look into His eyes again. I want to be able to say of our son's loss what John Piper said of cancer:
“We waste our cancer if we think that ‘beating’ cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ. Satan’s and God’s designs in our cancer are not the same. Satan designs to destroy our love for Christ. God designs to deepen our love for Christ. Cancer does not win if we die. It wins if we fail to cherish Christ. God’s design is to wean us off the breast of this world and feast us on the sufficiency of Christ. It is meant to help us say and feel, ‘I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord’ (Philippians 3:8) and to know that therefore, ‘to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Philippians 1:21).” -John Piper, Don't Waste Your Cancer
In other words, I waste my loss if I think that 'beating' death means merely surviving rather than cherishing Christ...Death does not win because my child died... My son's death will mean nothing if I don't, as a result, cherish Christ more. Death didn't win when Matt died. It wins if I fail, subsequently, to cherish Christ. I long for my son, but I long for Christ even more. And that is indeed a deep and severe longing.

It is a longing, however, that causes me to fight for joy, to quiet grief's voice with shouts of joy. This has been playing on repeat:

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