I have been contemplating grieving these last months, while experiencing it for decades.
Grief is long and drawn out.
It can go away and then jump out when you do not expect it to do so.
It can hang on you all day long and everyday, and yet, you can choose to smile and have the desire to carry on with normal life because you live in the LORD’s strength even in your agonies.
It is a special joy to think how a wounded person in such grief can continue because of the LORD’s hand. He is marvelous and awesome in how He loves and cares for us.
Psalm 139:5 NIV states our safety in Him in a sewing terms which I love:
"You hem me in behind and before,
and You lay Your hand upon me."
Thank you, LORD!
Sometimes the Church Body at large does not know how to walk alongside with others who hurt, but it is a precious balm from the LORD when those in the Body can understand and know how to show compassion and care for those who are in agony.
Church leadership can help or hinder those who suffer. One thing we have learned with hard knocks is that we can not, and will not stay at a church where the leadership "plays church", when they have lost their first love. (Revelations 2:1-7)
The last biblically solid assembly we attended for more than a decade had loving people, and seemingly loving leadership. Towards the end of our attendance there the leadership chose to take the congregation into a different direction with an unbiblical mindset not allowing for anyone who wasn't on board with their new direction. We saw it all from the inner workings of the leadership and could no longer fight to save what this precious Body use to be before the LORD. It was time to leave. We could no longer stay and watch them "play church".*
Thank you to Pulpit and Pen who has an excellent post, 3/10/17, Why the Church Doesn't Need More Coffee Bars. This is a poignant account of a family in agony and why "playing church" should not be the main thing in the Christian Body of Believers:
As this precious wife and mother struggled to hold her family's life together while her beloved husband suffered and recently went to be with the LORD, she shares what we as Believers truly desire and what we desperately need in a Church Body.
Here the wife shares about the poignant conversations she and her husband had as he slipped away from this fallen world. She says he didn't speak about the ridiculous church's frivolities, instead:
"He talked about Jesus. He quoted scriptures. He reminded me of sermons we had heard. And in the middle of the night he sang songs of praise and worship to God and he spent his time praying. Because nothing a church does to strategize to bring in members helps you in the time of the storm. It is only Jesus."
As the Church at large seems to concern themselves with frivolous and unbiblical nonsense some of this precious wive's thoughts were:
"...I am thinking that my strength comes solely from God...
...I am thinking how desperate I need Jesus..."
"...I am hurting in a way that is almost indescribable...And when I go to church I desperately want to hear the Word of God..."
"I want to see how Jesus has changed a person's life.
I want to see the power of prayer.
I want to see how the Word of God can be applied to one's life.
I want to see how Jesus can help the hurting.
I want to see how Jesus can heal the sick.
I want to see how the broken heart was restored.
I want to see how the mourners were comforted.
I want to see how lives were restored..."
Pulpit and Pen ends with:
"The church does not need anymore coffee bars. They don't need the lighting. They don't need the concerts...
...Tell a person how God has changed your life. Show them the love of God through your actions. Demonstrate how God helped you through the darkest of storms.
Church leaders, remember that you are not just trying to attract the hip and the cool to your church.
You are reaching widows. You are reaching children who don’t have a parent. You are reaching someone battling with a disease. You are reaching a person going through a divorce. You are reaching a businessman who thinks they have all that they need. You are reaching the hurting.
And the only thing they need is Jesus."
Please read this powerful post full of excerpts from young wife, Kimberli Lira. Praying for her and her family! The LORD hears our cries!
Psalm 139:1-6 NAS
"O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it."
* Thankful to have found a Bible Believing Body again.