Archives for posts with tag: grief

We are faced with another passing.  Another friend.  Another family.  Another loss.

Is your heart heavy?  Come to Jesus.  His burden is light.  He gives us a Comforter and a promise of God’s kind of peace.

As Pastor Clegg said at the time of Gina Higbee’s death, we do not grieve as those without hope.  Thank God alone for that!  This world is a world without hope.  Except for the grace of God through Jesus Christ, we would grieve as the world grieves.  But He gives us a forever-life with our forever-family and friends.  Gina and Jim Brown are experiencing that.  Tina believes that.

God GIVES it.  He GAVE it.  Before the earth was even made.  Before you and I and all our loved ones existed.

Cross on a hill

Think of that!

It means you have nothing to do with the salvation God planned.  There is nothing you could do to change His plans for you to be in heaven with Him, because you have no part in the arrangements He has made.  Christ provided your way to God and once you know that, you can be assured He is engaged in preparing His house for you.

How awesome is our God!  How worthy to be praised!  How deserving of our love and thanksgiving.

His promise is done.  Completed.  If you ever had a doubt that He loves you, look at the Cross of Christ.  Where is it in history?  Behind you.

“It is finished,” Jesus said.  God is the God of all time…past, present and future.  And because of that, what He says ‘about’ time stands forever.  When Christ spoke on that cross, his words agreed with what God had already proclaimed.  That once, and for all time, the price of sin was paid.

Jesus paid it all.

All to Him I owe.

Sin had left a crimson stain.

He washed it white as snow.

Let us all say, “Amen and Amen!”

And remember to pray for all who grieve losses, including Margaret’s loss of her sister-in-law.

by Cindy Best

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As many of us struggle with the news of dear Gina’s death, we fool ourselves if we pretend we are not asking, “Why?”

Gina, my friend

Why, when we prayed so earnestly?

Why, when there were so many people praying?

Why, when she was such a faithful servant?

Why, when she tried to make healthy decisions?

Why, when she was so young?

Why, when she had a family who loves her and needs her?

Why, why, why…?

The answers seems to be that only God knows.  The answers will be revealed later on, as hard as that is for us to understand.

BUT we should also ask these “WHY QUESTIONS” :

Why were we allowed to know her?

Why were we allowed to be blessed by her smile, laugh, and friendship?

Why did Gina have such a heart for others?

Why would she come to the aid of anyone she’d been made aware of?

Why did Gina deeply love her family, friends and Savior?

And, WHY do we put off telling others we love them?  Why do we deny that each day is truly a blessing from God..because we may not have another?

WHY don’t we begin, today, in Gina’s name, to hug, kiss, laugh with and serve others?

WHY don’t we follow her example, and be the first smile someone sees?

by Cindy Best

As a late-coming autumn swiftly transitions over to winter in central Iowa and the days become shorter, darker, and colder, I find myself sinking into a seasonal melancholy that always turns my attention to what I consider the deeper things in life.  Perhaps it is the loss of daylight and warmth that directs my thoughts to loss in general.  We have all experienced and survived the loss of a loved one, our own health, a friendship or other relationship, a job, a home, perhaps a dream we once had for ourselves.  As much as we would like to avoid it, we simply cannot.

It is natural for us, then, as individuals and even as a nation or world to divide our life’s timeline into Before and After.  Before and After 9/11.  The War.  The Economic Meltdown.  The Death of a Grandchild.  The Suicide of a Son.  The Miscarriage.  The Divorce.  The Betrayal.

Sometimes we get stuck in our memories of that Before life and are unable to embrace the After and move past our pain and grief and longing.  We don’t know how to accept the loss with grace.  Maybe we fear that if we do accept it, we will forget that person or devalue that friendship or feel bitter or guilty or ashamed.  The only way we can see to protect ourselves is to clutch the Before closely, because letting it go would mean emptying ourselves out and starting over with a new, blank-page After, and the thought of an empty self terrifies us.  We tell ourselves that suffering is part of life.  Better the pain we know than the pain we can only imagine.

For people of faith, getting stuck in the Before world can be a means of avoiding what Saint John of the Cross called a “dark night of the soul,” that necessary agony we must endure if we want to experience union with God.  Make no mistake, God does not cause our suffering; it is a byproduct of being human.  We all must endure hardship and tragedy, both physical and spiritual, as we struggle to overcome our attachments and grow in our relationship with God.  Our souls long to be reunited with the One who made us and loves us, but we also long to hold on to those we love, despite the impermanence of earthly bodies and other material things.  Letting them go is an act of faith and an expression of hope, a necessary loss.

Friedrich Nietzsche, a 19th century German philosopher famous for questioning nearly everything, said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  Although this isn’t exactly Biblical, I think it’s usually true.  Without struggle, we cannot grow.  Several years ago my family had some trees planted in our yard.  The person who did the planting staked the young trees to protect them from the fierce Iowa winds as their roots took hold.  I wondered how long the stakes should stay in place, so I did some research.  Turns out you should remove them after no longer than one year, because the trees need resistance from the wind in order to send their roots deep into the ground.  Leaving them staked too long allows the roots, which are lazy without the challenge of wind, to grow in a shallow pattern, and once the stakes are removed the first big gust could just topple the tree.

We are like trees in that respect.  Although we don’t seek out tragedy, if we lean into it and fully embrace it we can allow God to use it to strengthen the roots of our faith by growing them deep into Him.  It is painful.  It is difficult.  It is often lonely.  But until we can honestly say, “Your grace is sufficient,” we will never know what wholeness, what union with God, is like.  We have to release the world Before and pursue with tears, with anger, with agony, and with joy the life After.  It’s the only life truly worth living.

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