Lesson seven of our Bible study, Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy, is “Moving On To Acceptance.”
I have been liking the “quilt story” that they include with every lesson. It’s a beautiful picture (in words) of someone moving through grief. So much of loss is similar, whether it’s loss of a baby (like so many of us have gone through) or loss of a dream or possession (as in the story) or loss of another loved one. The details are different, but the emotions are very similar. In this lesson’s story, the grand daughter finally connects with her dear, loving grandmother and they talk and talk and talk. Then they start to put the pieces together and quilt.
The study book says: “Acceptance means facing the full reality of the loss of your child. It is not the absence of pain, but learning to live with the ongoing reminders of your loss.”
A month or two ago I told my husband that it seemed that the moving through grief process was a kind of numbing or deadening of the feelings, moving from something that was terribly painful to–almost–a place of apathy. I’ not sure this is true, though. It seems that the pain will always be there. I still find myself in pain sometimes over the loss of my first husband seventeen years ago. And I think that I will still feel this pain, and that of losing my son, and the dozens of other loved ones who are now gone, until I finally get to heaven. I know that this sorrow and pain will not always be as severe as it is now.
One of my big “aha!” moments during these past few months of grief has concerned John 16:33: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Of course, after saying these things Jesus sat in the garden and sipped tea and nibbled on cookies in agonizing prayer, was betrayed, and crucified. I think He knew a little bit about tribulation. 😦
But I have gotten the idea from things taught at various churches that “if we are truly trusting God we will have happy lives and no problems.”
At least, that’s what I’ve come to expect or hope for.
And I am here today to tell you that THAT IS NOT TRUE. Why does it surprise me when hard times come?
I have heard of something called the “health, wealth, and prosperity” gospel. I think that one of the hardest parts of this mindset would be the looking down on others who have not achieved this “health, wealth, and prosperity” because they are obviously doing something wrong and therefore have struggles. Which compounds a hurting person’s pain and grief immeasurably!
I am learning that we are to expect the opposite. We should expect the car to break down on a rainy, windy, cold day or to have the rent check bounce because the paycheck was short or to have kids up sick overnight and have to miss their final skating lessons or to expect a foot of snow on the morning when you need to leave the house earlier than usual.
After all, Jesus did promise us this. “In this world you will have trouble.” This word “trouble” can mean affliction, oppression, distress. And–it’s a promise, unfortunately, as much as I’d love for it not to be true. “Please, LORD, promise me a life of sunshine and roses??” Sadly, that won’t happen on earth.
But it’s also a promise that He has overcome the world. And that means that it had already been done at that point. I had thought that this was what He did by dying on the cross. Apparently it was done by that point! Wow! How’d He do that? Maybe by living without being sucked under by the sin and yuk of the world?
Still, I’m not totally sure how that could be comforting though. We are still going to have to face the pain of life, but we are not alone as we do so. And we know that someday it won’t be like this. Because He has overcome the world, we can hold on to Him?
My time for this study has run out so I can’t talk about the other verses in this lesson. Gotta run! Hopefully I’ll be able to get next week’s lesson, “Learning To Let Go,” done quickly.