Sunday, August 12, 2018

Grief, that very first true prayer you ever prayed

Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

Hearts ache when hearts break
And nothing seems to bring relief
But to suffer for God’s name sake
(My experience suggests)
Brings a deeper relief because of one’s grief.
Losses suffered castigate hope
So hope to hold on becomes a fight
When we cannot cope
We go to God in our darkest night.
Minutes that seem like hours
Hours that seem like days
When life’s harsh it sours
Leaving a fog so thick it stays.
Those forlorn moments of paralysis
Can’t move, eyes lost in a gaze
Darkest deep beyond analysis
Desperate is the one who prays.
Loss is a dream defunct. It takes us deep into a journey to another world we hardly recognised existed. Of course, we knew was there all along, but we really didn’t expect to arrive in Holland when Italy promised so much. Loss is the death of a hope, yet it is only when hope dies that we determine that we cannot leave it that way.
Very soon we commence a fight to reclaim hope.
It, as a conquest, is the spiritual fight of our lives.
Grief teaches acceptance of the unacceptable. How true this is! Loss, as it occurs, and for so many millions of minutes, is unacceptable. We cannot accept what has forced us to change.
What is beyond us, that which is absolutely beyond our control, leaves us feeling useless, helpless, and hopeless. And yet it is only in a street called Unacceptable that we learn to inhabit a home called Hope that is beyond every hope that can be taken away.
That hope is God. That hope is found in God. And God opens the way to a life that can never be defeated, even though we need to be defeated in order to embark on the journey to the distant Promised Land of the soul.
It’s not unusual in my life to experience tragedy, and some days there are more than one. One thing I guess grief has taught me is to expect it. I wouldn’t call it pessimism, because in pessimism there is no hope, just resignation. I see a hope beyond loss, and I see hope transcend loss; and, that grief is the enigmatic vehicle that transports us from spiritual death to eternal life in the name of Jesus.
I often wonder of the person who never prayed until they lost every ounce of fortitude they had. With nothing left, and with nothing left to lose, they go to God, first perhaps in the fury of fire, telling him how nasty He is to allow this. Then there are subsequent prayers, perhaps when they are too weak to shake their fist at God. Then there’s the time when God showed up somehow. Sound familiar? The longer we spend time with God’s people, the more we hear variations of this ancient narrative born afresh.
Many people’s prayer lives
had their genesis in grief.
What was designed against them as defeat
they turned, through God, into victory.
The prayer God loves most is that first prayer, prayed in desperation. That life situation that brought us to our knees, also brought us to God, and can be seen as the moment that life could begin, again. Such a paradox is applied to the reality that seems like an end but is simply a crucial beginning.
The hope we cling to in loss
is that it really isn’t the end. And it isn’t!

With God through our grief,
hope abides for the sweetest relief.
Bear with God through the fire,
He will get you through the pyre.
Bear well as you can your heartache of pain,
ultimately, this time you’ll see as one of gain.

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