2016: Death & New Life

This past year many heavy losses were met with and several of our friends and relatives passed on.  This has led people to curse this year as one of death and loss.

I recently received an email from my mom:


How about the fear of loss then?  The reality is that loss hurts.  Simeon told Mary, “A sword will pierce your soul.”  Jesus wept to the Father, “Please take this away if it’s possible to do and still be within your will.”  Clearly, dreading the pain of loss is not a sin.  This is not doubting God’s sovereignty and power like fear is, it’s knowing that something is going to hurt.

Remember when Mary, Martha and the Jews were crying over Lazarus’s death, and the women said, “Lord, if you’d been here, Larazus wouldn’t have died?  Jesus did not rebuke them for their pain and their desire to have Lazarus back.  He wept with them at seeing their pain, even though He knew He was about to raise Lazarus.  (John 11:32-35)

So what to do about the fear of losing husband or kids?  This is a relationship matter of growing in trust and resting in the love of Jesus, and everyone has their own unique relationship with God, so the heart transformation from anxiety to peace is a unique process in every person’s life.

Here are some thoughts that have helped me:

1. James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  God gave you [your husband], and any children you might have, as good and perfect (i.e. exactly right for His plan for the world, for you life and for their lives) and He will not take them away until doing so is a good and perfect gift.  His plans and work and gifts in our life don’t waver from good to bad and back again.
Example:  Lovie.  [An elderly lady who we were close friends with.]  He blessed the three of us through each other, being prayer warriors, worshiping together, us seeing how God is very present right up to the end of life and her being less lonely because of us.  And when He took her, it was also good and perfect.  She is whole, you had moved…anyway, and in addition to learning several other lessons, I rejoiced that she was finally out of pain.  We can trust God that He will bring God out of every single thing that He allows in our lives and in our loved ones’ lives…

2. I don’t have to be capable of enduring right now what God allows in my life later.  Psalm 50:15 says, “Call upon Me in the day of distress; I will deliver you, and you will glorify Me.”  So when those worries come, I remember I don’t have to solve such a situation right now.  I give those thoughts to God and ask Him to provide what I need when the time comes.  He is faithful.

3. He will be with me every step (“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me”), He will never leave me (“I will never leave you nor forsake you”) so I will never be alone.

4. I love my husband and my children so much, but the Father loves them even more.  He knows what’s best for them better than I do, He can protect them better than I can, He can fix their hurts, failures and needs that I can’t.  He will meet all of their needs, spiritually, physically, relationally, emotionally in His own time and His own way.  He sees the plan for their life from beginning to end and is working it all out.  He knows what He’s doing!

In short, God is a waaaay better Father to my loved ones than I could ever be a wife/mother to them.  So when I worry about what would happen to Dad or to you girls, or to my parents if I should die, I remind myself, “I was only a tool of God.  Their heavenly Father has been taking care of them all this time, and He will continue to do so.”
   
5. I realize that pretty much every caring wife and mother I’ve ever met experience varying degrees of anxiety at times.  Somehow realizing that these are normal feelings helps me.  It’s like being grumpy during PMS.  You realize, “This is normal, not a big deal, really.”  You do what you can to alleviate it, like eating chocolate…but you don’t add the stress of worrying that it’s a deep spiritual problem, or that you’re immature or unusual.  It’s “welcome to the human race.”  It’s just, “Here are these anxious thoughts and feelings again.  Time to pull out the Bible verses and prayer and coping skills.”

Isaiah 57:1-2

The righteous man perishes,
    and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
    while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
    he enters into peace;
they rest in their beds
    who walk in their uprightness.

I don’t personally know every single person who passed on this year.  But I do know that while it’s easy to become become bitter towards God due to our grief,  it’s folly to lose sight of His purposes.

While those of us who were left behind this year are naturally experiencing deep pain, many of those who have been taken from us are experiencing joy we could never imagine. They have entered into God’s presence, into the most perfect peace and love.  In human eyes this seems like a year of tragedy, but in heaven’s eyes I believe it has in a way been a year of new life and growth.

May The Comforter continually grant us peace.

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