Posts Tagged With: peace

Face to Face With Grief

I’ve discovered that I tend to want to find an escape when faced with uncomfortable emotions like grief or frustration. Or maybe it goes so far as to be any time I feel completely out of control of what is going on around me. My means of escape are harmless in and of themselves: shopping (well, that may not be completely harmless….); going out with a friend; going out to do something – anything; meeting with my pastor; or even just our normal scheduled activities; and I even escape with comfort foods.

Why do I do that? I know it’s probably a pretty normal response to difficult situations and emotions, but I “know better”. I’m supposed to know that escaping won’t solve anything, and that the answer to my grief cannot be found in any person or thing or activity. I know Jesus is the only Person who completely understands, and He is the only One who is truly “acquainted with (my) sorrows”.

Perhaps I’m not so much escaping as I am simply looking for something to soften the harsh reality of my grief – a pillow on which to lay my broken heart until it feels better. My routines – especially the ones that involve church – can be a pseudo-comfort. I’ve been expecting my friends to assuage my sorrow to some extent, and part of me has been terrified that they would forget. I’ve been fighting to keep Rusty’s memory alive in everyone’s hearts – or was it just my heartache I wanted them to remember?

Last week, the anniversary of Rusty’s death, made me realize all this, because I didn’t have a way to escape. It was Spring Break, every midweek activity was cancelled at both of the churches I am involved with (I’ll explain how I came to be involved with 2 churches in a different post.) My worship pastor, who has been my grief counselor in many ways this past year, was out of town with his family. My pastor was out of commission due to an injury requiring surgery. My friends were busy enjoying their own Spring Break activities. Every means I would normally use to escape was unavailable to me last week.

So it was just me and God. I wish I could tell you what a wonderful week of sweet, comforting, healing communion I enjoyed with the Lord. But I can’t. For some reason, I was holding Him at arms’ length. I knew He was there, and I was even talking to Him some, but I did not throw myself into His arms like I could have. I didn’t spend my evenings, after everyone was in bed, pouring my heart out to Him. Why? Why do I do that? Am I afraid? If so, of what?? Am I angry? Yes, that’s very possible.

But the Lord is good. He is faithful and long-suffering. He still upheld me because of the prayers of my friends. He has been there in this whole, long, excruciating season of my soul. He met me at church on Sunday. First, while I was working in the nursery, He had a nice lady who only knew the gist of what had happened, asked me for all the details. I could ┬áhave politely declined to answer, but I didn’t. I think the Lord wanted my heart to be exposed, because every single song during the service met me right where I was. It was as if the whole service had been planned for me. I know it wasn’t, except for in God’s plan. It was hard, and I cried a lot, but it was healing.

So I learned that I need to put my arms down, and stop trying to find something or someone else to “fix me”. I need to not be afraid to come face to face with my grief. For when I do, I’ll probably find myself face to face with God, who alone can comfort and heal.

Categories: brothers, choices, church, grief, lessons, Uncategorized, worship | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

God of peace

Based on someone’s suggestion, I’ve been studying the phrase “God of peace” as it appears in the New Testament. It’s only in the NT 5 times, and each time it’s in one of Paul’s letters: twice in Romans; once in Philippians; once in I Thess.; and once in Hebrews.

The one that stands out to me so far is the one in Romans 16:20 that says, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” When I think of peace, I don’t tend to think of the strength and power that is necessary to crush the enemy – especially under my feet. I usually think of it as something you get to enjoy after the enemy has been crushed.

When I think of the God of peace, I think of a God that is calm, serene, and very tender. I think of a Father who gently holds me in His lap, stroking my hair, and “quieting me with His love”. (Zeph. 3:10 – I think.) I still think that’s true. Even during the storms of life, when I am completely distraught, or overwhelmed, or angry, or heartbroken and grieving, the God of peace is still there. I guess that’s how it’s possible to have peace in the storm. He is our peace.

But most of the time, instead of resting in that peace, I get angry with God and shout out, “Don’t you see this storm? Can’t you see my heartbreak? Why aren’t You doing anything about it? Why are You just sitting here holding me when this storm is raging all around me?! You could do something to stop it!”‘

The God of peace doesn’t react to my anger. He doesn’t reject me or scold me. He just keeps holding me. At this point, I have a choice to make: do I choose to be still and trust Him, His timing and His will, or do I crawl out of His lap and try to stop the storm myself, or maybe just ignore it? If I choose the latter, it will be very hard to find my way back to His lap again, and it will only cause more pain and heartache. If I choose to be still and rest in Him, His peace will cover me like a blanket. And then, I’ll see it. Under my very own feet, this quiet, tender, serene Being, with power inherent in His very name, has crushed my enemy. And it humbles me to know that while I was resting, He was fighting for me. The God of peace is not impotent. He is all-powerful and victorious. And when I’m willing to quietly rest in His lap. He is quietly, but powerfully crushing Satan under my feet. Hallelujah!

 

Categories: devotional thought, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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