No one tells you how to navigate grief. Losing a child is a little like giving birth to a child. It hurts. You know up front it is going to hurt. People talk about the pain in vague ways. But no one says, “You know what? I’m not gonna lie. This hurts like hell.” How are we supposed to grieve with hope when it hurts so bad?
That’s how grieving feels … but every day.
I’m sorry for the language. I’ll go put money in the swear jar now. Come walk a mile with me. Call me when this grieving life is one you know. We will punch walls and cuss it out together. But,grief seems to have no end to its pain. Where is the hope in these long grieving days?
Some time ago I began clinging to hope. Not just any hope like, “Gee, I hope those Blues win the Stanley Cup again this year.” Sure, I hope they win, but this hope is in bigger things than the Blues.
I’m not even clinging to the kind of hope that seems to be everywhere these days. There is a hope that leads us to the want of brighter days and freedom from illness that reigns in our hospitals and waiting rooms of this world. It is good and real and right. But that isn’t the kind of hope where I anchor my soul.
That hope isn’t Jesus.
Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed-in tears. For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ … round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
So many things haven been written, some given to us, about the waves and spirals of grief. It was Levi Lusko in his book Through the Eyes of a Lion (pgs: 54-56) who showed me it was God who told us first grief would come in waves. Paul wrote to the Philippians of Epaphroditus who was so ill he had to be sent home. They must have been close, good friends. Paul goes on to tell us Epaphroditus was so sick he almost died. The text says God had mercy not only him, but on Paul. He spared him ‘sorrow upon sorrow.’ The original Greek is always more meaningful than boring English. It helps us visualize by suggesting ‘wave after wave.’ (Thanks to Levi again and Vincent’s Word Studies.)
Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.Philippians 2:27
Have you been to the ocean and been taken over by waves? Have you been taken over to the point of not being able to get up? It’s scary. It’s overwhelming. You can’t do anything about the coming waves. Sometimes you just have to crawl back to safety. Sometimes you just float, and let the waves take you for a while.
Sorrow upon sorrow. Wave after wave. Slam after slam. Gut punch after gut punch. Drowning after drowning. Grief is no joke.
I’m not gonna lie, I will anchor myself to 5,000 things when I am drowning. When waves are crashing and pulling me down I will flail about trying to hold onto that one thing. Give me just one thing that will keep me afloat.
A hope bigger than the hope of this world. An anchor in the waves of sorrow.
Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from him.Psalm 62:5
We have this hope as anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.Hebrews 6:19
And that is how I grieve, yet with hope.
What are you hoping in right now? The Blues next season? That their coach would clean up his language and put some money in the swear jar? Maybe you have some hope in a doctor right now. Not a bad hope. I’ve hoped in them and still do. But, their abilities only go so far. Come with me and anchor to a bigger hope. For when the waves come.
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