Thank you for joining me for “Part B” of the July 4th article!
Three weeks ago, threatening storm clouds engulfed Calgary. The next morning we woke up to the aftermath – evidence that the sky had unleashed its fury! We marveled at photos of the Zeus-like hail-chute that had discharged destruction over NE Calgary.
What an apt picture of the stormy times we find ourselves in, with so many people experiencing losses and changes. As much as we are “in this together”, each of us is battling our own unique wind gusts, hailstones and rising waters. What is that acute unsettledness we feel? Friends, it’s grief.
As we navigate ahead, we stumble through a whole host of emotions in a messy and confusing way. In my July 4th article, we started to deconstruct the emotion of fear:
We have already looked at 3 fears: fear of abandonment, fear of being labelled and fear of losing one’s mind!
Take my hand – especially you who are newly bereaved - and let’s continue to explore some other fears. My hope is that your battle with fear will give way to some unshakable peace inside – yes, even while the storm is swirling and the hail is smashing your windshield!
Fear of the unknown: What does my future hold? What will my life look like? How will I “take this one day at a time” when it feels that I can’t even get through one hour?
I love this Corrie Ten Boom quote: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Faith is something that we cannot conjure up from within ourselves. We need to place our trust in an object or in someone - and for me, that faith rests in God. As Corrie said, He can be known!
God has revealed Himself through His Son, Jesus, and His Holy Word. It might feel like I can’t see more than 2 feet ahead into the future, but based on what I know about God, He has promised to provide strength each and every morning to face whatever that next day holds (no matter how unfamiliar or frightening). He is walking with me in these circumstances. I can trust Him with the future because He holds tomorrow.
Fear of Change: Things that were “givens” before are no longer that way. What once felt like solid ground under my feet feels like shifting sand. I desperately need something solid to stand on. To whom can I turn? Jesus is unchanging; he is the same yesterday, today and forever.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.
Fear of death: Death is the final enemy. We recoil at it. Even though death invokes incredible fear, take heart, we only need to look at the cross to know that Jesus – God’s son – conquered sin and death by rising from the grave! Eternity in heaven awaits those who have received Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and have invited Him in.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
As odd as this verse sounds, it is especially dear to my heart. For the Jesus-follower, death is merely a change of location – God calling us home. That moment when we die, our translation into glory is something very precious in God’s eyes. When I take my last breath, I will be ushered into eternity under the watchful gaze of my loving heavenly Father.
Fear that my heart will never heal: In the months and years following loss, it is a frightening prospect that the severely wounded heart might never heal or function normally again. Can you relate?
I have been moved by the book, “A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss” by Gerald L Sittser. In Sittser’s time of grief following catastrophic loss, his hope and prayer was that, with God’s help, he could “live in and be enlarged by loss, even as he continued to experience it.”
Have you feared that your heart will never recover? How will it be possible to continue on living, loving, thriving, caring and giving when all that is left of the heart is a mass of scar tissue? I have asked God to take this wounded heart, repurpose it (scars and all) and somehow enlarge it, so that it would have more capacity and capability as time moves on. Don’t be shy to ask that of God too!
Friends, when storms threaten to overwhelm us, we desperately want to escape the circumstances. God may, or may not, intervene in a way that you hope for. He may not remove you from the challenges, but He does promise to be present with you all the way through the storm. (Luke 8:22-25)
You are never alone, dear one. He does promise to give peace that passes all understanding, and His hope is to have our trust. There is power, peace and strength in the name of Jesus.
Here is a song whose lyrics have been of huge encouragement to me. Have a listen!
See you again on July 25th!