No one told me – or if they did, I didn’t hear – how much grieving is tied in to a chronic illness. A lot of dreams turn to ashes and you have to just watch them go up in flames. Joel held me tight last night as I wept and grieved another dream that I’d been hoping for and praying over for a few months. Watching someone else pick up your dream and run with it hurts. It really really hurts.
It would almost be easier to stop caring, stop hoping, stop dreaming. Become hard and insensitive and make a stone case around me. That’s not how we were called to live, though. Hard, calloused people cannot be used or molded by God and one of my greatest prayers is that this time doesn’t get wasted.
We’re told to be content in all situations and I am trying, honestly I am. I don’t want to be a bitter person that no one likes being around. I try and remain upbeat and spout out lines about how God is using this illness and how He has a purpose. And I do believe that. But sometimes I need permission to grieve when another dream gets smashed or I’m reminded all over again of how little I am currently capable of. I need to be able to cry and mourn and sometimes scream my frustration at a broken body. The Psalms are full of people crying out like that and I think the fact they’re in the Bible shows God doesn’t condemn grief or crying, or even screaming, as long as we don’t use it as an excuse to shut Him or others out. Grief does not mean God has been booted off the throne – it means we live in a fallen world with broken bodies (some more broken than others). Crying isn’t saying God isn’t in control, it’s admitting we don’t have a clue what’s going on and we feel like we’re being pounded by waves that are on the verge of breaking us. Today I have learnt that grief isn’t ungodly. Raising trembling hands to Heaven as tears roll down our faces is not condemned by our Father God. Others may be uncomfortable with it but God isn’t.
I don’t want to end this blog post all bouncy and happy because grief doesn’t just bounce upright and suddenly everything is fine, or at least it doesn’t in my life. Grief means I think I’m doing ok then something happens to trigger it and I’m shoved back into the darkness. But. And there is a massive but. “Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG)
We have Someone walking alongside us as we grieve, Someone who can hold us, Someone who knows what grief is.
I don’t want to finish this blog all happy-clappy because reality as Christians doesn’t always involve that but I do want to end it with hope because as Christians we do always have that. Even on days when it’s hard to see hope for our lives down here on earth, we can rest assured, if we cling to Him – because I know He is gripping us tight through it all – we have an eternal hope. Satan can pummel our bodies down here on earth, he can mess with this world and incubate evil but he cannot touch our eternity or alter the fact we are children of a strong, powerful God who will one day call us Home to a place of no more tears, no more pain and abundant energy.