Monday, March 13, 2017

Grieving #4: I do not want to be shipwrecked!

1 Timothy 1:15-20 
"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, 
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
among whom I am foremost of all. 

Yet for this reason 
I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, 
Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience 
as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, 
the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son,
in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, 
that by them you fight the good fight,
keeping faith and a good conscience, 
which some have rejected 
and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander,
whom I have handed over to Satan, 
so that they will be taught not to blaspheme."

Sixteen years ago a storm was brewing and we knew it.  Through no fault of our own our life was falling all around us.  

We knew the LORD was with us even though everything was crashing, and then that very certain day came where we never, could ever have believed would happen.

It did, though, and one of my first thoughts was, 

'this can't last, but never the less, I will not allow this to shipwreck my faith.'

Grief is a strange thing.

In absolute disbelief of what was happening around me I trusted God.  My life was crashing around me, but I knew the LORD was with me, and that He would carry me through this valley.  

What I did not know was that this valley would last so very, very long.

I was not then, and I am not now a super Christian.  I do believe that the LORD was giving me, and He is still giving me His strength.  It is through Him that my first thought was to trust Him wholeheartedly.  It is through Him that I continue to this day even though my agonies could paralyze me in my fears.  I also believe He shelters me from the brunt of the agony most of the time.  Left to my own devises I would be in a closet since that certain day.

You may be reading this and your sorrows have been lasting a week, or you could have had your agonies for a life time.  No matter how long it has been, you should know that I grieve with you.  One day or a life time, your agony is painful.  Don't discount it because it is not like my agony or like someone else's pain.  

*The LORD sees you, He hears you.*

Sometime after our great grief began, I read a devotion which helped me.  The topic was sadness and grief.  It spoke of sufferings and how this is part of real life.  

We can't pretend our pain isn't happening. The best news is that the LORD uses our sufferings for good in us and in others if we allow Him to do so.  We need to run to Him in the good and the bad.  We need to trust in Him even if we do not see anything change, even if we never see any change.

The devotion suggested that we allow ourselves to grieve for a certain amount of time and then choose to get up even if we are still sad, continuing to do what ever is next like a "normal person" would do, knowing the LORD is our strength.  

Now, I know grief, and some days the struggling is all day long, maybe longer.  How can we get away from it when it is all around us, it is in our heads, and it hangs on us like heavy wet clothing?  I personally would say that I could be like the previous statement all the time, like  literally staying in my closet for my whole life.  

The solution is who we are in Christ.  Our sufferings can certainly be overwhelming and we do need time to let it out, to vent it, but we must remember that we have a great Almighty God who dearly loves us.  We may have the most painful agony, but when we have Jesus as our Savior we have everything!  His compassions surround us, He gives us strength and wisdom to overcome even if it is moment by moment.  He doesn't say, 'get up and be Super Christian!'  No! He doesn't ever say this because we can't accomplish it!  We are to come to Him for His strength!

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

How beautiful is He is Word!  It expresses such truth!  In grief we are heavy-ladened and weary.  Who else but Jesus would be so humble and so gentle with us in our broken state? We can find such compassion in His Word.

Give yourself some mercy. 

If you are overwhelmed, then allow yourself a ~10 to 20 minute time to grieve. Be flexible not rigid with the time. Spend your time grieving, but do it with the LORD. Make it a time of talking with Him about your sadness at that moment, and then give it to Him as you transition to getting up to continue your day.  Lay your burdens with Him and get up to do next things for Him.

Humanly, it would be easy to say, "I deserve to be sad, I really do deserve to have people feel sorry for me, I am sad so I do not have to do anything...", but we aren't just human if we are His children!  We were bought with a price!  We have a Savior who rose from the dead! We are not alone! We can get up even through tears and we can do next things even in our pain because of Him!

Grief can shipwreck your faith if you allow it.  Grief is strong, but the LORD is stronger!  

We can overcome our grief even if it never goes away, because of our great God.  Live your life for Jesus and He will shine through you. When you live your life for the LORD the world notices. The LORD uses our suffering for good when the world takes notice.   Our testimony shines for Him even when we are unaware it this. 

We do not have to live a shipwrecked faith when we have the LORD. When we allow the LORD into all aspects of our lives we can smile at the future with strength and honor as our clothing.

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future."
Proverbs 31:25

We glorify God when we choose to allow Him to lift our heads.  

"You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me."
Psalm 3:3-5


Anonymous said...

A wonderfully compassionate post.

"No matter how long it has been, you should know that I grieve with you." - Bear ye one another's burdens and thus fulfill the Law of Christ (Gal 6:2). Weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15b).

"Don't discount it (your agony/pain) because it is not like my agony or like someone else's pain." - The heart knows its own bitterness (Prov 14:10a). Thank you for saying this, Jill. You have just put balm on so many people's wounds with this one single statement. You acknowledged the pain of others, and did not minimize it. What tender care of the afflicted!

It is so easy to judge someone who is suffering, and add more pain to them with thoughtless words (or prayers!) that lack compassion. What comes to mind is Job 2:11-12... the best thing that Job's three friends did was silently grieve with him. Then, unfortunately, they spoke. Volumes. Of uselessness. Job 16:1-5 is Job's response to his friends, after they opened their mouths with all that horrible counsel. And yet, they kept going on in their folly! Ultimately, in Job 42:7-8, the Lord speaks, and tells Job's friends how wrong they were. Finally Job 42:10, Job prayed for his foolish friends for how much harm they caused with their words.

"...we must remember that we have a great Almighty God who dearly loves us. ... His compassions surround us, He gives us strength and wisdom to overcome even if it is moment by moment. He doesn't say, 'get up and be Super Christian!' No!" He comforts us in our afflictions so we can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:5-7). His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24). I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil 4:13).

"In grief we are heavy-ladened and weary. Who else but Jesus would be so humble and so gentle with us in our broken state?" (Emphasis on Jesus being HUMBLE AND GENTLE WITH US in our broken state.) A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not extinguish (Matt 12:20). And, led by the Spirit, we are to have a heart of gentleness and show compassion to each other (Coloss 3:12).

THIS is why the church needs our mature women.


Anonymous said...

PS: the Peanuts cartoon was the perfect addition of sweetness in the midst of a post on such a difficult topic!


The Piper's Wife said...

Carolyn, how kind of you to write and with scriptures to encourage us all! Thank you for your kindness to me. You know that I have been "pushing off" writing about grieving because of the emotional toll of just thinking about it all. The LORD, though, is my comfort and my help so it has been a very good thing for me and for others. Praising God! :o)

Anonymous said...



That's why I said "THIS is why the church needs our mature women"... because this kind of blog post that you are writing, is a blessing to others.

I just filled in some Scriptures that were coming to mind as I read what you wrote. Just shows how the truth is on the heart of a believer, so even if one doesn't say "chapter this, verse this", one can be still speaking the word of God.

Thank you also for encouraging your readers not to be "two dimensional". So often in the church, "appearances" are valued and rewarded more than (not as pretty, but certainly more genuine) reality. Fortunately for us, our Lord values reality, and meets us right where we are. He's never afraid to get His hands dirty.


The Piper's Wife said...

Carolyn, I am thankful. Praising the LORD that my ramblings are encouragements. The LORD is all my strength! :o)