A Week of Grief 2
“For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hid His face from [me], but when I cried He heard [me].” (Psalm 22:24) This passage has taken on a greater meaning this past week. When sudden and unexplainable death occurs to a family, ‘Grief’ grips the heart and only the comforting embrace of the Saviour through His gentle kindness and assurance can release the vice grip of ‘grief.
This past week we experienced another blow, another death—Brianna’s dog—of just four and half years old. It came so quickly, even for a small animal, (just 10 days) that it left us in shock. Further, since “Yuki”, Brianna’s dog, was directly tied to Brianna, it magnified all these memories just nine months earlier we had experienced through Brianna’s loss. Yuki apparently had something in her system back in early August, when small bumps appeared in different parts of her body. [We think the local vet, misdiagnosed them] Less than a month later it had spread to her head and central nervous system. There is a real possibility it was a ‘fungal’ infection, which can be deadly for a dog, if not properly treated early on. You don’t think of this happening in the veterinary medicine world, but if it happens in human hospitals around the country, why would ‘veterinary hospitals’ be exempt? The human response always is ready to ‘charge’ God—“Why did you allow now this tragedy, Lord?”
How easy it is to complain, that God is not running things properly! All these attacks from the enemy, and he doesn’t intervene, but permits them to occur? Then I came across this statement the other day in a book entitled, Maranatha p. 101: “He permits us to come in contact with suffering and calamity in order to call us out of our selfishness; [Wow!] He seeks to develop in us the attributes of His character—compassion, tenderness, and love…” Could it be that it is only in suffering and calamity that selfishness can be rooted out “compassion, tenderness and love” be developed in us?
I’ve been studying this chapter (Psalm 22) deeply on and off in recent months and it struck me in real and profound way, that in this psalm, the “Psalm of the Cross” we see something profound taking place the last third of the chapter. After 20 verses expressing the suffering and horrendous agony of Calvary, the Psalmist in prophetic language reveals that Christ obtained the victory, a few verses before His ‘infamous’ cry, “It is Finished” (John 19:30). In these verses we see this incredible statement, sandwiched between two sets of elements of praise:
“For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted…but He heard him.”
This coupled with Isaiah 63:9, which states, “In all their affliction He was afflicted”, brings much comfort for it shows that God goes through the suffering with us and that He is in control of the trail. But more than this, in the sufferings of the Son of God for all humanity corporately speaking and for each of us individually, He has given us both a defensive weapon and offensive strategy wrapped up in one—PRAISE. When we praise Him in the midst of trial and suffering, the gripping hold of grief losses its power and we are enabled—in the grief—to encapsulate and rise above it. This has brought my mind much relief! But, I’ve found that I cannot store it up for tomorrow’s trials. It must be exercised today in the moment, when the grief is trying to ‘choke’ me for it to be effective.
Thank you Lord for always providing ammunition through your enabling grace to exercise a faith that brings ‘compassion, tenderness and love’ into the soul, when we need it most!
I hope this will bless each of you, as its discovery and practice has done for me.