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27 March, 2012

Connecting to Him in the midst of grief

So much we don’t know. So much we don’t understand. We have no idea. But we have God. He knows.  He understands. 

We did not know, did not understand, had no idea of what was ahead of us, of what is now, when we chose to follow God even into grief and sorrow. Good thing we did not choose lightly, or choose to go it alone. We had no idea.

Linda Thornburg
March 21st we got a phone call telling us of the sudden death of Jeff’s sister, Linda. SHOCK(!) is an understatement. Instantly plunged into profound grief, mired in not knowing, not understanding, having no idea, we muddle forward, slogging through the hard stuff with loved ones. Our daily pattern now involves frequent tears, spoken memories, voiced concerns, pondered questions. To our relief it continues to involve prayer, turning to Scripture, re-reading notes by comforting verses and journal entries, expressions of love, and frequent family time. All of this is wrapped in profound loss, steeped in the heaviness of grief, making all things harder than normal.

We keep reminding Jesus that he bid us to let him lead us into profound grief that we might experience joy. We doggedly pursue him, seeking joy, but in the process finding anew every day that he is enough.  Even if joy never comes, he is enough. Likely that is his point.

And so, we say again, even through the shroud of profound sorrow, Jesus is enough. We stand on Truth.  We have a Redeemer, and our Redeemer is alive. He is actively redeeming all of his creation, working his plan to accomplish his purpose, which is always for our good. We choose to continue trusting him, giving all of who we are, broken as we are, to him. 

We feel tentative in planning for leaving. Our dear sister left her husband, daughters, and us behind when she left for heaven. This makes us not want to leave for Africa because it means leaving behind those we love. It tempts us to cry out for mercy and be spared the leaving.

And yet, through God’s tender care we are growing into knowing, into understanding, into grasping glimpses of his idea. Resurrection brings us meaning through the cross.  And so we say once again:  we choose to follow wherever God leads, even into profound sorrow. We trust him. We will go wherever, do whatever, “leave behind” whomever, to follow him. We are not changing our plans to go to Uganda in August.

And along the way we keep reminding him that he promises joy. He whispers to us that joy will come in the morning.  (Psalm  30:5)