Monday, June 9, 2014

Grief Pondered

Teaching Us How to Grieve

A few weeks ago, our dear friends lost their adult son in a tragic car accident. The young man had a wife and a 2-year-old boy, who still doesn't understand why daddy does not come home. He also left behind a mother and father and sisters and brothers-- all people who loved him in this tight-knit family.

The manifest transparency and courage of these friends grieving deeply is something to behold. It is nothing short of an honor to be near. It is sacred, almost, like peeking in on a cataclysm and a glory.

There are many ways to grieve. We have watched our friends do it well. They grieve openly and frankly in a way that strips aside all conventions and flatly proclaims questions, faith, and courage. They cry during the stories, laugh between the tears, and say, "I believe, help my unbelief." They turn from their tears and encourage another. In the end -- whether they know it at this fresh point of their sorrow or not -- they are teaching us how to grieve and how to collapse onto God.

Not a Tame Lion

Watching a great sorrow up close puts all of my barely-quashed, dark fears on display -- a flickering picture newsreel. I want to look away from my own fears. But when I see someone suffer, I am turned inside out and my insides are revealed. The worst can happen, and does. It's true, and we can't pretend anymore: Here there be monsters.

I believe that this one of God's methods of forcing me to put feet to my faith. He is calling my bluff.

As Mr. Beaver says, "Aslan is not a tame lion." God himself is not safe. He is not a coddling God. This faith we have -- this never was the safe option. At least not now, not with respect to the flesh.

Faith -- believers know this -- is not an opiate, but a cold splash of water on the face. Faith does not allow you to muffle your fears in nice phrases and memories and that "The Circle of Life" song. Faith says, "All is as God has decreed," and "yet I will praise Him." Even a tiny mustard seed of faith is a gift, because we surely could not generate it ourselves.We only need that tiniest of gifts, and He gives it freely.

This faith is not safe, but it is real and true. And part of that realness and trueness is that Death does not have the last word.

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