Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Shifting Our Sorrow

(Note: I leave for an early flight today, so this was written last night.)

Monday, Sam sat at the bedside of his beloved wife, Jamie, as she breathed her last breath and entered eternity. Today, he sat by her casket as friends and family members came to share his grief, offer their love and condolences, and participate in the funeral service that followed. 

The "living after" we feared has begun.  

This afternoon, Sam returned to the home that has been filled with love for more years than he can remember. Now, it seems an empty shell. Tonight, he'll crawl into an empty bed and try to sleep without the consolation of his friend and companion of the last sixty years. I hate this emptiness for him. I'd fill it for him if I could, but sometimes, we have to experience the empty to understand the fullness that will, eventually, come.

It's been a hard week, and we're only two days into it.

Sam's learned about loss in his eighty-five years and there's one thing he knows for sure. 

Only God can bring him through. 

Many of us would be tossing and turning at night, but not Sam. He slept well last night. In his own words, "I went to bed, prayed for a while, and went right to sleep." The night his wife of sixty years died, he handed his sorrow, his fear, and his pain to His Lord and went to sleep. Tonight, he'll do the same thing again. 

Sam understands two very important truths that made his restful night possible, and we would do well to embrace them ourselves. 

We do not grieve as those who are without hope.

Sam is confident Jamie is with God and equally as confident that he will see her again. This is an agonizingly difficult separation, but it's only a temporary one. 

As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, joy will follow even our deepest sorrow. 

God is in the healing business, and He loves to heal broken hearts. Sam can't see what it will look like, nor when it will come, but He knows, without a shred of doubt, that his God will bring him through. On the other side of this sorrow, there will be joy again. It may not be the joy he expected, but it will be joy, and more than enough.

Tonight, my heart breaks for Sam. This is too much pain for one frail, dearly loved man to bear. As I pondered how in the world I could possibly help ease his suffering, I prayed, "Lord, I'd take his pain if I could." As soon as those words left my mouth, I remembered, Someone already did. Just as Isaiah promised, Jesus came and bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, accepted our sin as if it were His own, and justified us by His precious blood. (If you haven't read Isaiah 53 lately, you should. It's a beautiful passage, and full of hope.) 

Jesus has already carried Sam's sorrow and it did not defeat Him.

I'm holding to that truth tonight. Sam's sorrow is not too big for Jesus, and neither is mine. When I finally crawl into my bed this evening, I'll do the same thing Sam will do. I'll pray until I have peace, then go to sleep.

Tomorrow, the sun will rise. 

There will be grief to hand over, sorrow to shift to Jesus. We'll start the process all over again. When we do, it will be with the same confidence we've had today.

Jesus has carried our sorrow (and yours) before, and He's more than willing to do it again. 
Here are the links to the others stories in this series: The eternal destinationThe VigilA Little Help from My FriendsKeeping My WordDeathbed PrioritiesDeathbed Priorities, part 2, and Death is Not The End.   

Thank you so much for walking this journey with us. Your prayers and encouragement have meant so much to us. Don't leave yet. There's more to come, and it won't all be hard or sorrowful. You've changed us, and we are grateful.
#livingafter #grief #overcominggrief #Jesus #hecarriedmypain