Something has been mulling around in the back of my mind for a long time now and I am just beginning to have some understanding of it. It has been an interesting journey, this trying to learn to live after the tragic death of one of my children. My husband and I have been muddling our way through it since it occurred 3 years and 5 months ago. It is not an easy road to walk, in part because it is such a dark and treacherous road to travel.
I’ve learned a lot along the way – some useful information, some ridiculous information, some hurtful and some helpful information. It is extremely difficult to hear, learn, process and apply information – useful or not – when you are suffering tremendously from a broken heart. I would probably have to say, though, that I’ve learned more about myself, through this terribly unwanted journey, than anything else. It feels as though I was always blind, in a way, before my middle son was killed in a car accident. Now I feel as though I am in a blinding light in new and different ways, and deaf, so to speak, to the things I used to think I heard clearly and with understanding.
I’ve always read, relied upon and believed in the Bible as God’s written word to us; I believe it is His very Words, communicated by the Holy Spirit of God to men, who wrote it down for all to read, believe and live by. I have read scripture many times, sometimes reveling in the beauty of its truth, other times quaking under the weight of its conviction, but always loving it and longing to live up to its standards. I can readily quote many passages, as I have read them so many times and had the Holy Spirit “write them upon my heart”. Other times, God has graciously granted revelation about a scripture, so it not only is inscribed on my heart, but it has changed my heart and life forever.
In the past 3 years, during this very difficult and challenging time of trying to learn to live without a person I expected to outlive me, I have had a few scriptures quoted to me, scriptures I’ve known for many years, and have had a hard time understanding what, exactly, they can mean, in light of the tragedy that occurred in our family 3+ years ago. I am not going to quote any of them, as I don’t want to add to anyone else’s questions or doubts. I’m sure anyone who has read the Bible seriously (or not) has sometimes scratched their head and wondered about the truth or validity of it. My belief, though, is that it is God’s inspired Word to us and we must read it, believe it and strive to live accordingly, all the while knowing that some things only God understands and we may never understand them – here or in heaven.
My point, today though, is not to share with you my beliefs about the Word, but to share with you a deeper and more meaningful revelation I’ve had recently about some of the scriptures that have been thrust at me (for lack of a better way to describe it), in an attempt, it seems, to get me to act like some Christians seem to think I should be acting. As though anyone should even suggest how someone should act 3 years after one of their children has died unexpectedly. But let me not get started down that road.
I have struggled, in the past 3 years, within myself with scriptures about being joyful and rejoicing. I don’t really have a hard time with being thankful, because there is so much to be thankful for, even in the face of tragic loss. But to be joyful? To “rejoice always”? This has been a great conundrum for me when I am so sorrowful over losing my middle child.
Recently, though, I came across a meme about joy, and the Lord, in the way only our precious Lord can do, gently spoke to my heart and brought great encouragement to it, soothing me with His peace as He spoke to me. He reminded me that I am not the one to do the work in my heart.
I am simply to trust Him.
The scriptures that came to mind when I heard the Lord speak this to me are ones I’ve thought of, and meditated on many times throughout my life. But in the past 3 years I have felt like I need to be doing something or believing something or having some person do something for me to get me to where it seemed I should be, according to these same scriptures, when all along God has been working in my heart and helping me along this rough path and I just need to keep my eyes on Him and trust Him. That is a difficult thing to do when others are pushing, so to speak, to get me farther down the road of grieving than I seem to them to be. (One of the counselors we’ve visited with calls people like this “grief bullies”. A very apt description.)
So, here is the meme I came across:
And the words I heard? “GOD will turn my mourning to joy.” Not me. Not anyone with good intentions quoting scripture to me.
He will do it.
God will turn my mourning to joy. In His time. In His way. And for His purposes.
“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything (every circumstance and situation) by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your (specific) requests known to God. And the peace of God (that peace which reassures the heart, that peace) which transcends all understanding, (that peace) which stands guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (is yours).” Philippians 4:6-7 AMP