Thursday, September 20, 2012

To my Grieving Friend

I am so sorry. I have not experienced the exact pain you are currently living through. I can't say, "I understand." But I do know pain. I know how it feels to watch everyone else living a life that you can only dream of. And I know right now life has dealt you a really stinky hand. You feel that life is unfair. You never saw it going this way. You had other plans. You think about what has happened, and you feel your stomach sink. When you wake up in the morning, you have a few seconds before reality sets in. A few seconds before you realize that, in fact, your dream is not the nightmare. Your reality is the nightmare.

You love the Lord. You call Him Father. You grew up following His commands. Sure, you're not perfect. But you're a lot more perfect than other people. You did things the way God said. And despite all that, you are facing news that feels heavier than anyone should be asked to bear. It threatens to suffocate you. It catches in your throat. It overcomes you in places you'd never imagine. The grocery store. The post office. During a commercial. As you lay in bed at night. In a moment that should be happy. But instead all you can feel is sadness. Sadness or nothing at all.

You know it could be worse. Of course it could. It can always be worse. Yes, there are people who are dealing with much more. And you feel guilty about that. You feel guilty about being so sad. You want to let this roll over you. You want it to not mean so much. You want it to not hurt so bad. But it does. It hurts really bad. How can you spend the rest of your life with this pain always a part of your history? You wonder if you will always feel this way. Will every moment always feel this layer of sadness?

I don't have the answers. And to attempt to give them would not be helpful. So instead, I want to tell you what I do know.

I know that this pain will always be a part of you. This pain will always be in your history. But this hurt will not always hurt as badly as it does right now. The Lord will help you find reason. You will never want to relive this pain, but you will be able to say that the pain was good for you. It helped you. It matured you. It grew you. It made you the person you are.

And not only will this pain help you, but this pain will help others. Every time someone confides in you about their hurt, you will able to understand them. You will relate. You will have compassion. You will have the words (or lack thereof) that are exactly what they need in their moment of pain. You will be their friend. You will be exactly what they need.

This hurts. Bad. But dear friend, I promise you that the Lord is with you. He sees your pain. He feels your pain. And He will put purpose into your pain. I promise you that someday, you will look back. You will not want to go back to this place. But you will not hurt the same. You will feel better. Your pain will not suffocate you anymore. You will make peace. You will have peace.

I once had a friend who had faced a fierce blow. When we next saw each other, significant time had passed. As we walked along the beach eating ice cream and sharing about our lives, I asked her how she was. And she said to me, "I knew I'd be sort of happy again. But I thought I would be faking it. I really didn't believe I could find happiness again. Not happiness that was real and more than just lip service."

But she had. God had brought her back to a place of peace. The sadness will always be part of her. But now it is a part of her past ... not her present.

I cannot tell you how long this pain will last. But I can tell you that joy will come in the morning. Tell the Lord how you feel. Confide in Him. Be honest. Yell. Scream. Beg. Plead. Weep. But don't stop loving Him. Fight bitterness. And fight to praise. Remember, God is who He is, no matter where you are.

And know that I am praying for you. I will pray for you now. I will pray for you on your good days. And on your bad days. And on the days in between.

I love you friend. God and I both love you. And we are here for you. Lean on us. We can take it. Let's grieve and let's praise Him in this storm ... together.

P.S. Click here to listen to a song that has been my theme verse during my darkest days: Casting Crowns: Praise You in this Storm. To read this post on my original blog, click here.

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