Saturday, January 26, 2013


We had to go to the funeral home last night. A 25 year old girl, at what many consider the prime of her life, died of a brain tumor. It was roughly 3 months from the time they found it until God called her home. I had met the girl who died, but didn't really know her. I know her sister a little and met the rest of her family for the first time last night. There were a lot of people who came to pay their respects to the family and it was a very sad time.

As I gazed around the room, I saw people of varying ages, colours and social slots in life. Most were moved to tears and it hit me that grief creates a level playing field for there can be no victor in grief. While much of life involves an attempt to climb atop a societal podium to demonstrate a successful navigation of life's challenges and hurdles, grief is an unmatched equalizer. Grief strips us down so that external adornments and personal achievements slip away and we find ourselves surrounded by others just like us. No one is standing in line to jump into grief but, ready or not, we are nudged forward amidst the masses wading into unwelcome waters.

Grief can seem like a hopeless end, but the Lord offers us hope just about the time we think we may sink into its depths...

When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,

  you will not drown.

Is. 43:2

He is reaching out to us, offering us a life-preserver wrapped in a divine promise that He will honour to the end. We will hurt, we will wail, we will feel at times like our grief has swallowed us up and is pushing us further down into the depths of despair, but He will never allow us to be consumed when we look to Him in the midst of our grief. He will be beside us thru it all.

As we were leaving we hugged our friend and reminded her that part of grief will involve being angry. She will want to lash out and tell God how unfair His ways seem, how contrary to how she would like to see the script go. We assured her, though, that He can handle whatever she may hurl at Him and will never be offended. He will be a patient Father, wrestling her to Himself and gently wiping away her tears.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.

   He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Zeph. 3:17

It's hard to watch people you care about hurt at such a deep level, but what a comfort to know we can entrust them to the One who can minister to their every need in such an intimate and loving way.

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