Saturday, August 4, 2018

The peace of trust amid the pain of grief

Photo by Orr Nir on Unsplash

Best moments of life occur when trust abides in pain.
It’s the ability to hold in one’s mind two disparate realities — the suffering moment with the hope we simply must hold to. We believe that soon God will show us a way to hold these disparate realities together, beautifully in tension.
This is summed up in Psalm 13 — a psalm of David. The beautiful thing about this psalm is that it becomes personal when suffering lasts and lasts, enfolding itself over itself, when grief compounds over time.
Grief lasts longer than we ever believe it should or could.
But grief if a goad; it prompts us to press deeper.
Grief comes cloaked as a ninja instructor. Life cannot teach us what we need to learn, so grief steps into the breach. Grief takes us to deeper places than life, as it routinely is, can. Life is a handicap; it propounds a disability. Without grief’s equipping we cannot teach far. We cannot go far. And we cannot take others far. We certainly can’t take others where we haven’t been, unless we go together and learn from each other.
The ability that grief teaches us is not only rebound-ability, which would be enough, but it plumbs us deeper into the very soul-terrain of why it is important. Without knowing ‘why’ we have very little motive to want to engage.
The prayer of Psalm 13 gives the impression that David was able in his mindset to turn from despair to trust in a very short time. That can seem our nemesis. When we are perplexed we can’t quite seem to rebound mentally and emotionally with nimbleness because of our spiritual anguish. But this psalm offers us the possibility that rebounding within a short time is not only possible but that it has been done.
Our task is to believe grief
is the catalyst for a miracle;
that the miraculous can be done
amid even our very own life.
And without suffering we would not have the opportunity. See how suffering delivers us the opportunity? See how through our suffering we have the opportunity to learn something transformational, and we thereby stand to attest to God’s power to deliver us from the evil of being bonded to despair.
The beauty of Psalm 13 is that it asks pressing questions of God, and even demands that He answer.
It’s a full range Psalm, holding nothing back. Surely, we must know that God expects us to wrestle with Him in such a way that we demand progress of our situations. God needs to know that we will search and leave nothing back in our pursuit of all we are to know and experience about the meaning in the despair we face.
In the end, despair is there to teach us something. God. Not that God rescues us from despair in a way we no longer experience it, for we will continue to experience it. Rescue is not the point. No, God hopes that we will hope upon Him in our despair; that our choice is to trust Him even when the circumstances in our lives continue to keep us down, for we have this assurance:

The despair we experience
as a fundamental component of grief
brings us to a knowledge
of the unfailingness of God’s love,
as it connects us to Him
in a way we otherwise could not.

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