Monday, July 21, 2014

Musings of a Heavy Heart

I have debated whether or not I should post this at all. It has been sitting in my drafts section of my blog for almost a month now. I wrote this right after losing my grandmother very suddenly to pancreatic cancer at the end of July. I have decided I will share it because it is is the thought process I went through as I dealt with the pain and grief of losing someone precious whom I loved so dearly with all my heart. It is unedited, so forgive the typos and stream of thought. While it may not all be clear, I hope that the thoughts that lay on my heart can speak to the heart of those who are hurting for any reason.

In Christ Alone, 

Staring at the cursor blink on this blank page through bleary eyes right now leaves me with little confidence that I will be able to make a single coherent thought in this post. But during this time in my life, I have so many thoughts running through my mind that I needed to get down somewhere that I decided my blog would be a good landing spot. This post will be a stream of thought, so forgive me any places that seem disjointed. You see, I am experiencing a difficult loss in my life right now, in the midst of other major life changes, and I am not alone. Close friends and family are also experiencing the loss of those closest to them. It is heartwrenching and difficult during these times to make sense of pain, death, and grief. Some people want to try to comfort you by saying that death is just a part of life. It is a natural event that all experience. Here's the thing that a Christian knows with certaintly: death is the least natural thing on the planet. Man was not made to die. Man was not made to be break was made to live and to thrive. Death was a result of man's actions in the beginning telling God we don't love you, don't need you, and don't accept your rule and reign over us (aka sin). As a result of our rebellion, death entered the scene and has remained since. It isn't natural. If it was, it wouldn't be so difficult. It wouldn't be dehumanizing, painful, and ruthless. Those left living wouldn't have to deal with the incredible pain of feeling like a piece of you has been ripped painfully away out of the grasp of your longing-to-hold-onto-life fingers.

When these things happen, our first instinct is to simply ask, "Why?" Why has this person been taken away from me? Why has this person had to suffer? Why can't I stop it? Why couldn't I do more? Why didn't You do more? Why didn't You heal? Why...why...why? The whys keep pouring into my mind like a river down a mountain...and they definitely seem to end in a valley. I can't begin to tell you a specific reason, aside from the one mentioned above, that these things happen. I won't pretend to know the answers, the thinking of God, because how arrogant of me to think that I could grasp, as the Bible calls them, "the secret things that belong to God." God asked Job when he asked why, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?" In other isn't for me to know why God does the things he does because whether "good" or "bad" by my own small-minded definitions of those words, they are His things to do...and ultimately...all good. But while I cannot say why it is that these things happen, I do know for a shadow of a doubt what the reasons can't be. It simply and utterly cannot be because God doesn't love us. It absolutely and without a shadow of a doubt cannot be because He doesn't sympathize with us in our loss and suffering. And it cannot be because He doesn't understand our pain. We only need to look to one thing to know these things to be true: the cross of Jesus Christ.

At the cross, God demonstrated a love for us that goes beyond what we could ever hope to imagine to understand. He sent his only Son to die in our place for sins He had not even thought to commit. He spilled His own innocent blood on our behalf and all so that we could be made right with Him even in our sinful state by repentance and belief in Him. That is love incapable of being measured and love incapable of ever being squelched by anything in Heaven or on Earth. It is an unstoppable, imeasurable, unfailing, never-giving-up love. So this loss and hurt can't happen because He doesn't love us. In sending His only Son, he suffered a loss that we can't fathom. He allowed His innocent, perfect, righteous Son to humble himself to a painful, humiliating death on the cross. So he understands, even in ways we don't, our loss and suffering. Not only was this His one and only Son, but He was the One who had been with Him for all eternity. "In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God." I was able to spend 29 amazing years with the life and presence of my grandmother with me, and my hurt is massive. How much more must the hurt of the Father and the Son have been when He had to turn His face away from Him on the cross as He bore the wrath of The Father for our sins and transgressions? My friends, it cannot be that He doesn't understand our cannot be. 

So, as I sit here and break under the weight of loss and hurt and grief, I look to the cross as my source of comfort and strength. And not just for what the cross has meant for me, but what it meant to my grandmother. As a Christian who proclaimed Jesus as her Lord and Savior, I can be dually comforted by Christ's work on the cross. Not only does it shout at the top of all forms of volume that God loves us and sympathizes with us, but it also radiates the hope that lies within what was accomplished there. Sin has lost its power; death has lost its sting. For those who believe, this life does not end with death. Oh no, by all just begins. As an adopted son or daughter of the Most High God, regardless of what or how death took us from this life, we are awakened to an eternal life renewed. Healing comes in many ways in our lives in many circumstances...and this is His ultimate healing for those who believe. We enter the presence of The Lord and all of the believers who went before us to never have to live under the effects of sin or sickness or death again. To live is Christ and to die is gain...even in the darkness of grief that surrounds me, this flicker of hope, this light of joy, cannot be undone. It is a flame that burns as eternal as the life given by God, and it shines even through the darkest despair this world can muster. It is the reason a Christan can boast a joy even in the is the assurance of this certain promise of life in Christ that allows a grieving Christian to be flooded with a peace that passes understanding even when we are overcome with the loss of those we love who believed in is our very source of life even in death. Does it mean that we don't hurt? That we don't grieve? That the pain of our loss vanishes into thin air? Indeed not because, as we said before, we grieve the unnatural nature of death and the loss it brings. But through it all, we can sing a song of praise in our hearts and give thanks to The Lord for His love that endures forever...through life...past death...and into the ever after life in His presence in glory. 



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