These are hard times. These are painful times. Sadness and grief seem to grow with each passing week. For some, loss has become more of a constant companion than a stranger just passing through. For others, we find ourselves weeping with those who weep and mourning with those who mourn. And then there are those who have yet to be touched with the deep grief COVID-19 has brought, yet battle losses of one degree or another that leave them weary and worn.
Right now, this very minute, many are grieving in ways they never imagined they would have to. They are grieving alone…while the one they love is fighting to beat the Coronavirus in a hospital ICU. They are grieving the possible loss of their other half, and it feels like their very soul is being ripped apart as they cling to Christ and the hope of eternal life amidst this gut-wrenching pain. It’s a grief not many of us can understand….because not many of us have ever had to suffer in isolation.
Some are grieving the loss of what will not be. These gals waited, planned and dreamed about that one day, that one moment when they would walk down the aisle dressed in white to pledge forever love to their shining knight. And then the venues shut down, people couldn’t congregate in groups…and all the work, effort, and hopes of a beautiful day seemed to go up in smoke and left them scrambling for alternate plans. They know God makes all things beautiful in His timing, but they were hoping the “beautiful” would be on the wedding day that they had planned.
Others are battling for joy in the midst of wage loss. They know God will provide for their needs…but it may be at the expense of that family vacation they have been saving up for years to take, or the tax return that was supposed to go towards a home improvement project that they had intended to start this spring. Or, it truly means they will be in daily dependence for their daily bread because the bank accounts are depleted and the money just isn’t there.
And then there are just the small everyday losses. They may pale in comparison to the situations above but they still require an attitude of grace, patience and a lot of wisdom. There are many plans and trips that have been put on hold or cancelled altogether. Daycare options are dwindling and that puts work and routine in jeopardy. School doors are closed and moms and dads across the country have been thrown into a world of homeschooling. For some, this might be new and fun, but for most, it’s challenging and overwhelming. Seniors are coming to grips with the reality that their year may end with a diploma in the mail instead of a walk down an aisle. These are days when the idols in our hearts quickly rise to the surface and we are learning in news ways what it means to take up our cross and follow Him hour by hour, day by day.
These are hard times. These are painful times. For some, these are unimaginable times…and all I can do as a fellow sister in Christ is fall to my knees and pray for God’s sufficient grace to meet these dear saints right where they are; that His new morning mercies would flood their souls and His peace would bring steadfastness to their hearts. For we know that “There is none like the God of Jeshurun, who rides the heavens to your aid, the clouds in his majesty. The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deut. 33:26-27)
I look at history and I know that God will accomplish His purposes and that He will only do what is good in His kids’ lives..and yet, at the same time, I hate death and I truly hate the pain that it causes; a result of living in this sin cursed world. I long for Jesus to come back…for wrongs to be made right…for sin to be no more and for tears to be wiped away forever.
Maybe you are experiencing grief in ways you never expected, or maybe your sadness is found in the small losses that creep up as you go about these unusual days. Whatever our lot, we all have a choice to make. We can choose to whine or worship. We can choose to pout or praise. We can choose to be honest about the loss and the sadness, while still clinging to the hope of a God who orders all things according to His good purposes, or we can raise our fists at God and question the one who hung the stars in place and spoke this world into existence. It’s okay to be honest about the very real struggles we face, and it’s okay to be honest about the pain, some of which may numb us to the core and make us feel like our hearts are breaking in two…but we must not grow angry and accusatory. We must not be filled with a spirit of complaining which is the same as saying to God, “You are not good and I can’t trust you right now.” Oh, how we need to be preaching that in our homes over the “small”, with hearts that desire to live that truth when the “big” comes, too!
Right now, we have an opportunity to shine brightly, to adorn the Gospel…as husbands and wives, as dads and moms, as teenagers and seniors, as graduates and students….we have an opportunity to exalt the greatness of our God and His sovereign goodness, even amidst real tears and real pain. We have the gift of not leaning on our own understanding, but trusting in the Lord with all our hearts as we take each step in faith, through grace, and spread the surpassing worth of knowing and being known by God. This is where true joy springs from. This is the anchor for our souls…and this is the hope we must cling to…eternity is at stake!
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18
(After I wrote this post, our friend lost the battle to Covid-19, while his wife continues to remain in isolation for another week; and, on that same day, a daughter of the King, a wife, and mother to three who also taught at our kid’s school, went home to be with Jesus in a sudden attack of what is believed to be this virus…sorrows like sea billows roll.)