Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4, NIV)
How contrary to the direction my prayers usually take. They often boil down to Lord, spare me and mine. Spare me grief, loss, disappointment. And when those losses and disappointments come--as they have, in abundance, this year--I throw a pity party.
I pity myself. In what way have I displeased God or failed my children that my precious daughter committed suicide? And I question God's goodness. Can't I even go to see my granddaughter? Will You deny me even that sliver of happiness?
Instead, God says I have given you a blessing.
Huh. I don't feel blessed.
But I do feel comforted. Tenets of faith which I have long held in my head I know hold in my heart. They have become real for me (they have always been real, of course). Some of those truths:
Jesus died to give us eternal life.
Jolene has eternal life because she placed her trust in Jesus.
Jolene is in heaven, tears and pain a thing of the past, watching the race I continue to run on earth.
I will see Jolene again.
Because God became man, He understands my pain and mourns with me.
Christmas is about more than traditions. It's about God's loving intervention with mankind.
I confess, I would still rather have avoided the "blessing" of grief. My pastor's words about trusting God comfort me (hey, there's that word "comfort" again. Hmm.)
Let me tell you a few things, fellow struggler: First, God knows you struggle. Second, He loves you, pilgrim. Third, if you ask Him, He'll give you the gasoline (in the Bible, gasoline is spelled g-r-a-c-e) to trust Him. Fourth, you see, whether you realize it or not yet, we can't do this Christian life by "our" hustle. It has to be by Him, of Him, through Him, and for Him." (from "One Parson's Opinion" by Dr. Jim Perkins, The Challenger, January 2009).