Getting to the Other Side of Grief

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Isaiah tells me that Jesus was a man familiar with grief and sorrow, and when Jesus wept the original language describes for us the type of weeping that is from the stomach; you know, the kind that doubles you over. (iStockPhoto.com)

I have laid in bed and pleaded with Him to please show me His love and kindness because it felt so far and, even at times, not true, and my God, the one who leads the stars out in number by name, has done just that. He has shown me indescribable love and kindness. But it doesn't erase nor exempt me from the grief experience. Nor any other believer. Yes, God is good, but death isn't.

He tells us in his own Word that the last enemy to be destroyed is death (1st Cor. 15:26). Yes, death is an enemy. And we can have every type of visceral reaction to it that soldiers have in battle at enemy lines. It is not tidy. It is not comfortable. It doesn't make for easy conversation or even relationship. It reshapes what you thought your life would be like, look like. It is inescapable.

When I talked to her today my eyes filled with tears as she spoke and shared how angry she's been, and I told her I have been as well, and I told her that's OK; it's part of the process. No, we don't want to stay there and become embittered but we don't have to have a quick palatable response to everything either. We don't have to defend God or try to make it go away for the other person. We can simply say, I know and I'm so sorry. I've been there too. I'm there now.

Someone shared this perspective not long ago and it's stuck with me. How much would I love it if my children came to me when they were older with their real problems and questions and struggles and sin, more than if they simply always told me the "right" thing so that I somehow felt better about them? I love my children desperately and nothing could ever separate me from loving them.

I crave relationship with them, not a surface appearance of them doing the right things but me never actually knowing them, truly knowing them. And it makes me wonder how much more so our Father? He's not looking for us to have our spiritual ducks in a row first. He's not looking for us to redeem our own pain and experiences. He is the Redeemer. He is the one who sanctifies. He is the one to work out all things for good.

I think people who suffer and grieve have such deep faith because the believing doesn't come easy anymore. It's been purified in the Refiner's fire. We can no longer say that God is good because our lives are going how we think they should; we now say God is good because He is simply good. Because it is who He has been for all of eternity and He is incapable of being anything other than Himself in all His perfection. His goodness isn't true because we have good gifts. His goodness is true because it is who He is.

Yes, my faith is deeper. My belief in God and His Word are stronger. But it's not without severe pain and wrestling.

And something tells me that there are some of you who can relate. And I want you to know, it's OK.

Reprinted with permission from Missional Women. Sara McNutt lives and writes in Montana, where she and her family call home. Her greatest passions are Jesus, family, people, writing, reading, traveling, photography and dessert. She's married to an amazing man, Matt, and they have two sons, Micah and Asher, and a daughter, Grace. Grace was stillborn on April 26th, 2013 at 30 weeks and 1 day in her mama's belly. She is expecting their third son, Luke Honor, the summer of 2014. You can read her story and more about Sara at www.saramcnutt.blogspot.com.

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