I’ve wrestled with grief a lot in this past year, actually this past year and then some. It’s been a time of deep spiritual growth and also deep spiritual “testing.”
I’m still not done with it. But I thought that before we get into a journey through my Dad’s preaching, I’d take a bit and fill you in on some of what I’ve learned about grief. Many of the “formal” educated writings about grief talk about the stages of grief. Instead, I want to look at it as the “Faces of Grief.” Why?
Because I don’t think you actually move from one stage to another and so on and then you get to stage 7 and grief is gone. Grief doesn’t go away. It changes, it looks different, it hides around the corner some times, but it never actually goes away.
At least not until God calls us home and reunites us with those we’ve been separated from. Then all grief is gone.
Along the lines of being called home, I was talking to a friend a few months back and we were catching up on the hard years we’ve both been having. My friend commented, “You know, I don’t know how they would do it. I’ve gotten to know other families in the ICU over the months we’ve been there. Some of them are Christians and their faith is helping them make it through. Others aren’t Christians and say that they have no belief in anything beyond the here and now.”
“I know it’s hard to understand, actually I don’t understand, why bad things happen to good people, but to have no hope for a future? No hope of ever being able to hug your Dad again?”
If you are in that place, struggling to understand why bad things happen, trying to understand God’s ways, don’t suffer quietly. Talk to someone – a minister, the chaplain at the hospital, a friend, stop in to the church down the street and ask to talk to the pastor. Don’t wait until it is too late.
I will be the first to admit, I don’t have all of the answers. Shoot, if I’m honest with myself, I have to admit I don’t have hardly any answers. I don’t know why my Dad got hit with cancer 5 times during his 80 years on this earth. I don’t know why I have been dealing with this ArterioVenous Malformation for 41 years now. I don’t know why previous treatments (1978, 1986, 2009) left me with very little side effects but the 2018 surgery left it’s mark on me and that mark isn’t going away.
I don’t know why, I don’t know what the future holds. But I know who holds my future.
And that’s good enough for me.