A family I am very loosely connected with has had the unthinkable happen...the loss of a child, age 7. To me this is cruelest of circumstances. My own feeble mind cannot wrap itself around this devastation. My own grief at the loss of my sister seems to pale in comparison to what it would be like to lose one of my own brood.
Life was pretty darn easy for me prior to Ansley's illness and passing. Then, very suddenly, everything was turned upside down and I found myself in self-preservation mode. I might add that I failed miserably living in that mode, too. We weren't created to self-preserve.
As a result, I have lived through extreme grief and continue to exist in a milder form of it. I believe that it will be my companion, albeit a little one, for the rest of my life. The ebbs and flows of grief are like the tides. Somewhat rhythmic and predictable like the calendar, yet are not even in their size or timing. Sometimes you feel as if you have just recovered from the last wave only to be blindsided by the next one. To know that this family is at the beginning of this new way of existing, this new family dynamic and to know what suffering is before them brings me to my knees. I am not yet to the point of being able to comfort someone freshly grieving as it is still too fresh in my own heart.
And yet, there is hope. Hope that is infinite and eternal. A hope that never changes, that never fades. In the perfect storm of pain, anguish, grief, evil, God is all we have to cling to. Nothing, I mean nothing in this world is more solid, reliable, comforting, and loving than our God.
I have mentioned in a previous post my dislike for the phrase, "God only gives us what we can handle." It is not biblical scripture and though I understand the intent, it is opposite of one of my favorite verses. "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." My belief is that God does bring more to us than we, on our own, can handle because it is Him that gives us the strength to do it. His purpose at all times is to grow us in unbelievable places. It is to pull us and stretch our faith. It is to bring us to a point where they only solution is to turn to Him. It is at that point of complete surrender that we hear His loving words, His wooing us to Him. It is that gentle nudge that leads us to want more of Him and less of this world.
Life on this terra firma is brief, a blink of an eye in relationship to eternity, ending often without warning. Yet, even in times like these, where the worst fears of a parent are realized, I find comfort in knowing God is completely in control of it. He has a plan for each of us, a job if you will. That job is involves both our internal - our spiritual growth and our external - the impact we have on others. For some, that plan is complete in just a few short years. For others, it will continue until we are old and gray. Until that work is completed in us, we remain here as workers for Him.
For this family and their friends...life will go continue forward. It will be painful to watch the lives of others continue, appearing to be unaffected by the the loss they are experiencing. My heart wants to tell them...Don't ever discount your grief. Don't ever compare your grief to others. Don't begin to think that you are not normal in your grief cycle. God knows our sorrows, our tears, our pains, our hurts. He is big enough to carry those burdens and He is big enough to take our anger. Give it to Him. Every day.