Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Discoveries Made In Silent Isolation

To the question of why there is suffering in the world there is no answer satisfactory to the grieving soul other than the answer they may find satisfactory to themselves. Some find an answer and some do not; some others never search. But to journey with God in matters of loss and grief is courage, and such pluck is rarely, if ever, denied a prize for its persistence.
As far as the felt absence of God is concerned, the following is of remarkable assistance. It holds out, like a flame, an answer with which to bear the pain:
“God left me in silent isolation to help me see what was in my heart.”
~Anne Platt
Grief As An Important Completion Process
Entering my own stark period of grief, the words of a colleague echoed from the abyss: ‘You are beginning a journey.’ I hated that word: journey. I didn’t want to be on any ‘journey’. I resented the journey. But as truth would have it, a journey it was. There was nothing I could do about it, and there’s nothing now I would change about it.
An important yet shrill part of the grief cycle, this journey that is characterised in silent isolation, where God might appear strangely distant or eerily close, comes as an important test. All of the rest of our lives will come to rely on how we got through this phase. This ‘phase’ is the making of a new identity, given the transformation that’s occurred within our lives—a transformation we must now, in our time, accept.
When I grieved I want to know when it would end; it seems to never end at the time. And ever so frequently, when it seemed it had ended, it hadn’t. Grief is cruel in this way, but she is but a tool in the hand of God. And, despite how despicable this thought is, the Lord has his purpose in it. It is for our best.
Could It Be That Through Grief We Find Ourselves?
How do we possibly get to know one human being, and someone as complex as us?
We have a very good idea of the complexity of humanity by plain knowledge of ourselves. Disregarding how well adjusted we may be, there are complexities, and layers of them, that are terrifically difficult to put a finger on.
Grief may be a process so grim with pain that we must face what’s truly in our hearts. And though we’re tempted to deny, again and again, God will patiently bring us back to face ourselves. Sooner or later we get tired of running. Having the courage to face ourselves, to deal with our inner stuff, becomes a necessity of survival.
There is a purpose in silent isolation. Such unassisted suffering teaches us, beyond our denial, to look calmly within; there we find God leading us to ourselves. There we see what is in our hearts.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.


  1. Pastor Wickham,
    The grief part of my life has remained with me for decades. It peaked with the death of my son Aaron in 1994, and the following 3 years of daily mourning; since i've begun and journeyed through the worst of my own processing of childhood flooding with abuse in a Christian missionary boarding school for missionary kids, the pattern of abandonment by parents who put their calling ahead of the God-inspired order to raise their own children in the nurture of the LORD..(boarding school was the edict of the missionary sending board.. no child could remain home on the field after age 6 so they did not interfere with the calling of the missionary parents...)
    I've dealt with and still do, with forgiveness and have done that uncountable times..but the raw pain of why God could allow people to dump us ( and my peers) in an abusive subculture of missionaries without any accountability for their actions, HURTS..and I can't equate these experiences with see..I know too much about the sexual, physical, mental, emotional suffering inherent in that setting..I don't trust many people.. and do struggle with trusting God..I still fear, not in a good way,.. and I am going on 64..
    Trust is a biggie..
    Thank you for reading and listening....I began my processing journey when I reached the age of 55..and I turn 64 in the next month of May.
    All these things happened in the African country of Guinee, West Africa, back in the early 50's for most of us..

    my parents were from CBFMS ( c0nservative foreign mission society) but the boarding school denomination ruling is/was CMA..Christian Missionary Alliance.

    a web site that will help give more perspective is this one;

  2. Thank you, Viv. Your grief is raw and real and it's hard to respond. Thank you for your patience in highlighting your personal story. Grief is so personal and I'm humbled to imagine your story with the vision you provided. Sincere thanks, Steve.


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