EYEOPENERS in life come in pleasant and painful extremes. And grief is an eyeopener of the most painful variety. A nemesis that seems to sneak up from nowhere at times, to take away our peace, our joy, our hope, our mind, to rob our heart of the security we so desperately rely on.
Grief can leave us floorless, baseless, sinking as if our world were bottomless. And all over a tiny nuance, a reminder, a word, an event, a colour, any connection that prompts us of our newfound dysfunction.
Grief says, “You’re alone.” It points out the kind of information that is only blatantly obvious when we’re weak. It pinpoints our weakness as if we didn’t even know we were weak. Grief sees weakness and then says, “Strike!” Grief causes us to feel that we’re ever vulnerable to weakness.
It does seem so unfair.
Being caught out of control with such astonishing regularity means our trust for reality diminishes. What has changed is that we have begun to second guess moments, as fear grips us in a new way. What we fear is that curtain of security can be ripped open at any time.
We’re exposed to this shocking sequence of moments we cannot control, for what? And yet, there is a thing that God is doing despite the horrifying reality of grief.
We get it wrong if we say God caused this grief to occur. No, we live in a deeply fallen and broken world where grief is inevitable. Everyone in time will be confronted with grief. Grief spares nobody.
What we can get right is that God can compensate us, and does, ultimately, as we seek Him. God’s compensation out of the events of loss are a new foundation of awareness and a building capacity for peace within the storms of life. God’s compensation is a patient teaching (which we can think takes too long) and we slowly but surely learn to cope. God is teaching us ultimately that there is no fear in anything besides fear in Him, alone — a godly fear which is holy esteem and holy respect. A right orienting for life.
Let’s not forget that God works through weakness, not strength. His power is perfected through our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Our task is to discover how this works in our life. Our quest is to learn a thing where surrender becomes a key word.
God is bringing us through to a place where hope abides in any and all situations — especially where hope has been vanquished (see, for example, Philippians 4:12; suffering taught Paul much that he would otherwise been completely clueless about).
Is grief good. No, not in and of itself. But if we look at what lies beyond it as we trust God, even though the journey is messy and sorrowful and many levels of pain harder than we thought life could ever be, we do get through and experience teaches us deeper empathy, compassion, warmth, kindness, and patience.
For the love we lost, through a season of nakedness, grief clothes us in time in richer colours of love.