“It’s hard, but God is good.” Those are the words I find myself repeating when a friend mentions the loss of my father. Some look at me quizzically and a silence lingers as they wait for me to offer more– that I know that he is in a better place (which I do.) The problem is, when I say anything more I find myself battling unwanted tears welling up in my eyes. The odd thing is, until a week ago, I would have told you that I was, “Doing just fine.”
Few of us escape seasons when we find ourselves battling emotions that appear to come out of nowhere. To say that I have been surprised by grief is an understatement. When I received word that Dad died, it was not unexpected. Dad’s health had been declining for several years, to the point where he was confined to a wheelchair the last time I saw him. Living three thousand miles apart, my brother Norm has been extremely good to let me know about Dad’s overall health–the good days as well as his drastic decline three days prior to his death. When I said goodbye to Dad last fall, I knew that it was likely the last time I would see him. I was grateful Norm was there too . . . grateful to see Dad bask in the loving care he was receiving.
That Dad is in a better place is without question. Yet, despite knowing this, I STILL MISS HIM. I miss hearing his voice and seeing his face light up when I came into his room. The one Scripture that truly speaks to the emotional loss I am presently experiencing is, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)
It is a comforting grace to know that Jesus,
not only walked among us, but He wept for and with us.
This especially resonates when we read about the death of Lazarus in John 11. Jesus did not weep when He informed His disciples that Lazarus had died–in fact He initially told them Lazarus had fallen asleep. (verses 11-14) It was not until Jesus saw Mary* and others around her grieving, that He was brought to tears:
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled . . . . Jesus wept.”
John 11:33, 35
We talk about this in the Counseling Room. When we find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster after suffering a loss or when experiencing anxiety and/or depression, it is a comforting grace to know that God is not offended by our struggle. In fact, when we find ourselves colliding with trouble, the Bible assures us that He has compassion on His people. (Matthew 14:14 and 20:34; Mark 6:34)
Yet God does not want us to remain spiritually frail. During the twenty years I have been privileged to Counsel, I have repeatedly marveled at God’s faithfulness in transforming human brokenness into a loveliness and strength that is fully of Him. The key to that transformation? Time after time it has consistently occurred in those who embrace the Authority of the Scripture as God’s Spirit has tended to each heart. Jesus continues to call us to Himself, offering His Comforting Grace to all who seek Him:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.…”
Yes, I still miss my dad and trust that I will for some time. In fact, as I have been able to identify the blessing of His Comforting Grace being worked out in my life right now, I give thanks to God for the sweetness of memories that can never be taken away.
All to His Glory!
*The sister of Lazarus who would soon anoint Jesus’ feet with perfume and wipe them with her hair– John 12:3.