A Week of Grief

The wisest sinner that ever lived said that he had seen all the works done under the sun and behold all was vexation of spirit.  (Ecclesiastes 1:14). I have found over the course of the last week that this term, ‘Grief’ has brought about vexation of spirit in my experience.

 

In years gone by, it used to trouble me, even perplex me about this passage in the book of James:  “Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.” Yes, the context is important here to make sense of the passage.  But this has been my experience for more than the last four months, but particularly this past week.

 

There is no PAIN, no HEARTACHE, no GRIPPING EMOTION like that unto GRIEF!!

 

The loss of a parent’s only child, especially one that was so accomplished for 19 who was just entering adulthood like a prepared, trained and ready runner to run a marathon—cut down at the beginning of her prime—is like one being stabbed in the heart, repeatedly, without dying.  This experience has been mine and my wife’s over the last 19 weeks (how is that for timing …another number 19!  When will it stop?)

 

Last Wednesday was the pinnacle of this experience for me or should I say a real low in the middle of the week.  After sharing with a couple evangelical brethren at the end of a Bible study that morning, what happened that fateful day in December, a good friend drove me down to the Oroville Airport. Upon arrival I shared with Brianna’s ex-boss, this picture of her that we had enlarged and placed in a frame. He had agreed to hang it on the wall for all to see who come into the airport lounge. {The tide of grief was coming in, wave after wave that day.}  Back at home mid-afternoon into the evening brought hurricane force waves of grief.  After my wife came home from work, we talked and spent time making revisions to the ‘memorial slide-show’ which we hope to have up soon at the website. It was probably one of the worst days we’ve had since the beginning of the year, when it began to sink in that she’s not coming home ever again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what would you do, if you were in my shoes?  How would you handle a loss of such mammoth proportion? Where would you turn to swallow up this gripping pain we call grief, knowing you will never see your child come home again in this life? Every time we walk in her room, that monster called  Grief  is waiting for us, right there ready to engulf us! Well, I’ve got news for you reader. The day is coming more than likely, that you will be privileged to experience a level of grief akin to what we have been plunged into. Maybe not all will lose a child in death, but all will suffer loss, beyond what you can even imagine now. No one will escape. Are you prepared for that ‘sudden’ occurrence in your life?  Are you ready for that ‘tsunami of grief’ to strike you? Well, just like learning how to be a parent, is not something you can prepare for, neither is the trial which will bring that suffering of grief.  It can be only experienced.

 

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You might be wondering reader, why I’ve taken the last few minutes of your life to lay this burden on you?  Here is the reason—I want you to feel MY PAIN!  MY HURT!  MY SORROW!

 

God didn’t give me a choice, he didn’t let me in on the tragedy about to strike us. He just plunged us into it, without our choice, without consulting us. Through this experience, I can begin to sympathize with Job and some comments he makes, placed on record for us. Job, a man who lost everything—all his wealth, then is children, his health and even his own wife turned on him, not to mention his three ‘miserable comforters’ who came to consul him. Here is a story of a sinner just like me and how he dealt with a level of grief even greater than I can fathom or can imagine. On top of this, he didn’t have the knowledge base I have access to regarding the great controversy taking place in this world of sin and all the lessons of history involving this war between Christ and Satan for the souls of men!

 

As I stop and reflect on this theme, I’m humbled and begin to ponder the deeper themes of life—Creation, Redemption, the Judgment. What is it all about?  Why the human family, why us? Why now?  It reminds me of the famous hymn, “The Love of God” by Frederick M. Lehman, who wrote the music in 1917. The words were taken from Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, a Jewish author in the year 1050.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, I remember the passage in Romans 8:28, “We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor (the labor of suffering)] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His} design and purpose.” (AMP)  Also, the passage in Philippians 1:29 comes to mind, which states, “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” (NKJV)  As I contemplate these texts of Scripture, I thank God He has everything in our lives under His control and we can rest in this reality.  He has promised, that He will bring all things in this life that concern us, even that afflict us, together for our good to those who love God.  Here is the key, He only is able to accomplish this for those who respond in love to Him according to His purpose. In this life it includes the suffering we go through for His sake.

Therefore, the mind is at peace, that even in death, which is just a sleep, we can rejoice that soon we will see our precious daughter again, never more to part.  What a day of rejoicing that will be! Praise God, the loss and suffering now is only temporary.  Does God not know what He is doing, even in the midst of suffering He is working out all these things we experience for our good and His glory.

Another passage of Scripture which has become very precious to me is found in a wonderful passage that brings hope and much encouragement:

 

“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.  In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immort-ality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory!”  - 1 Corinthians 15:51-55

 

 

It is passages of Scripture like these that I’ve found much comfort and relief in from the vice-grip of grief. As another day passes, I tell my lovely wife, we are one day closer to that grand re-union.  The Lord also reminds us of all the good that He is doing to reach souls through our daughter’s testimony, which we now share in.  Yes, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

 

Thank you Lord I can rest in you, in spite of the constant reality of the loss, which is ever present. But then, so is the Lord.

Thus, be of good cheer and if what I’ve shared in this blog today, has strung a cord in your experience that you can relate, I’d love to hear from you, it will do us both good.

 

Until next time, I leave you with this inspiring thought, which has brought much consolation:

 

“God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, could they see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him… And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.”   - DA 224-225

The love of God is greater farThan tongue or pen can ever tell;It goes beyond the highest star,And reaches to the lowest hell;The guilty pair, bowed down with care,God gave His Son to win;His erring child He reconciled,And pardoned from his sin.

 

Refrain:

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!How measureless and strong!It shall forevermore endure—The saints’ and angels’ song.

 

When hoary time shall pass away,And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,When men who here refuse to pray,On rocks and hills and mountains call,God’s love so sure, shall still endure,All measureless and strong;Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—The saints’ and angels’ song.

 

Could we with ink the ocean fill,And were the skies of parchment made,Were every stalk on earth a quill,And every man a scribe by trade;To write the love of God aboveWould drain the ocean dry;Nor could the scroll contain the whole,Though stretched from sky to sky.

 

 

Frederick Lehman tells us that verse 3 “had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after he had been carried to his grave.” While it is only supposition that he was the one who adapted the Jewish author’s poem to leave us these well-known lines, if the account is true it shows in any case that he highly esteemed the message.