I have been crying a lot recently. Crying deep tears, the kind that don't feel like a release of any sort. These tears feel like a long, tiresome walk: one foot in front of the other. A brokenness has settled in a corner of my heart, it has made a home. When I feel anger, I can yell and cry and ease it in some way. When I feel anger, emotional expressions or processes cause release, but what I feel now is different.
Grieving is different. Tears without anger or humiliation are different. Recently, I have felt my heart tear and fear gnaw. For the first time, I have grieved deeply. In my near quarter century I have lost much less than many. In even this, I have felt sleepless nights and pillows wet with tears, headaches caused by confusion and brokenness. Oh the Lord is good. He has sidled up beside me and comforted me, His Word has been honey and ice to my lethargic emotions. I have tasted of Him in the darkness and He is good. I pray He will not let me forget in the sunshine what He taught me in the fog. There are certain
truths that I hope to remember when today is a faint memory.
You can deeply trust the Lord and deeply grieve...
Oh how many times I have tried to stifle grief, thinking that it indicated a lack of trust in God. If I was trusting the Lord, would I weep? Wouldn’t I be joyful always if I trusted Him and had a right view of myself? If I was grounded in Christ, I was sure I wouldn’t feel deep pain!
Praise the Lord that I was wrong.
He wants me, all of me. He wants my fidgeting hands and tear weld eyes. He wants my brokenness, that is where He loves to shine. His power is made perfect in my weakness. Grieving does not mean I am not trusting, in fact transformational and healing grieving require trust. Who would let their insides pour out if they did not trust the goodness of the one in front of whom they stood? Distrust causes us to stuff pain deep within, trust in Christ is an invitation for weeping.
One of my new favorite passages is in John 11. Many people know the verse “Jesus Wept”, but do you know the context? Jesus comes to Bethany and finds that his dear Lazarus is dead, he has been in the grave for four days. As most believers know, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Before doing so, the below takes place.
And he[Jesus] said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” John 11:34-36
Jesus, God made flesh, Wept. Before raising someone He loved from the dead, He grieved. Jesus was perfect, He did not question the Father or doubt His goodness. He knew who would be victorious, He knew how the story ends. Yet, He stopped and let the tears tug and flow. He was so confident of who would reign supreme that he was able to grieve without anger, grieve without sin.. It honors the Lord when we trust Him and process our brokenness.
Let the Lord be the salve for your sorrows….
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” Psalm 16:2I
How often we go to God with our mere window of understanding asking him to change things. We see through a crack and decide what is best. “Lord, give me more… more friends… more time… more money…” We ask him for exterior, physical solutions to often inward pains. Perhaps the Lord is less interested in giving us things to fix our problems, perhaps he wishes to Himself be the fix for our problems.
…Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word[a] that comes from the mouth of the Lord. - Deuteronomy 8:3
Over and over in the Bible we hear the Children of God call on the name of the Lord. They do not call on the Lord to bring gifts or fixes, they simply call upon Him and His presence. They do not ask to experience wealth or relief, they often ask to experience Him. I am finding this to resonate now. I do not wish for comfort, I wish for Him. I do not wish for solutions, I wish for Him. It is imperative that we call on Him, all of him.
It is also imperative that we, the grieving, wish less for the flesh and what it craves and more for the heavenly. If we truly understand God’s goodness, we will not want the cravings of this world outside of his will. There is nothing so good in this life that I want it outside of Him. If our singular purpose is to bring glory to the Father, can we not trust that He will do so through us? The process may be cold and tiresome and long, but it will be the answer to that prayer. He is the fix for my problems, and knowing He is does ease my ache.
My lot is pleasant and beautiful….
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6
In our pains we must allow ourselves to grieve and receive comfort from the Father. We must trust that we have a beautiful inheritance and our boundary lines are in pleasant places. Psalm 16 has been an incredible comfort to me. Though I weep, I know that the boundary lines in my life are oh so pleasant. The Father drew them just for me; he knows how much I love creeks and flowers, he was sure to place those in my lot.
I have been known to say “this is so hard, but the Lord is good”. The Lord's goodness is not defined by my present comfort. His goodness is a completely different galaxy. This is the greatest non-sequitur, how do we so often place in the same instance such vastly different things as the comfort of our flesh and His goodness? It would be like saying “ I love chili dogs, but the tulips are yellow”. I am working to, even in something as simple as my speech, separate these two ideas. His goodness stands on its own, it does not need ease in my life.
If you are grieving, let yourself feel it. He says, "Be still, and know that I am God...” Lay in your bed and let the tears fall or let your breath be heavy and say aloud (now please don’t think I am crazy and please do it) “I know you are God. I know you are good. I know you love me. I know you are God”. Saying it aloud is powerful. I know you are God. He didn’t tell us to be still and problem solve or be still lament, He says “be still and know that I am God”. By recognizing His greatness and power and goodness, we can be put at ease. That is the greatest comfort. That is it. That is enough.
When not hiding away in the mountains, Grace can be found traveling abroad or laughing with her parents and 6 siblings. She is a recovering avocado hater, bachelorette housewife, wannabe travel photographer, and avid reader of all things Eric Metaxas.
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