A Grief Observed

Grief – the type we’ve faced since May 13th – is unlike anything my family has ever known. It has changed us. That said, although we think of Jordan every minute of every day, some days are good – really good – as our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, slowly restores our souls.

One thing that’s become painfully apparent, though, is how fragile we all are emotionally. What would normally be an easy, matter-of-fact task, at times these days, takes on more the look of a precipice that must now be scaled.

Yesterday, my daughter, Macy, was having an otherwise good 2nd day of school. And then – “out of nowhere” – reality attacked. I spent the entire afternoon with her. We cried together, prayed together, hoped together, hurt together, and hugged a lot. We often have these types of days: all seems fine, if not downright good, and – like being ambushed with a spear through the heart – we’re crippled with pain. The grief is beyond description. Just yesterday, I was visiting with a person. Everything was great. Then – “out of nowhere” – my eyes quickly filled with tears, my heart began racing, and I was having trouble breathing.

I’ve deeply enjoyed reading C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed.” It helps me know what we’re feeling at this suffocating level of grief is normal. In regard to this type of “emotional ambush” (having lost his young wife to cancer) Lewis describes perfectly what it felt like when he was doing quite well – but then “reality attacked”.  He writes, “Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare, the wallowed-in-tears. For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’….Round and round. Everything repeats…..How often – will it be always?…The same leg is cut off time after time. The first plunge of the knife in the flesh is felt again and again. They say, ‘The coward dies many times’; so does the beloved.”

In only the way Lewis, the Christian apologist, can, he poses this question: [Given this corrupt & painful world in which we live], “sooner or later I must face the question in plain language. What reason have we to believe that God is, by any standard we can conceive, ‘good’? Doesn’t all the prima-facie evidence suggest exactly the opposite? What have we to set against [this overwhelming evidence]??”  And then Lewis answers his own question:  “We set CHRIST against it!”

In CHRIST we see “a man acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) In CHRIST we see the depth of the love of God as He “demonstrates His love to us in that, while we were still sinners [hostile toward Him], Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) In CHRIST we see the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) In CHRIST we see that this corrupt & painful world (due solely to the sin of mankind) is “not the end of the story.” (John 14:1-4) In CHRIST we see a God who loves us so much that, though we deserve eternal death, we receive eternal life. (John 3:16-17) And, in CHRIST, we see the hope of a new [restored to what God originally intended] heaven & earth where we will live eternally with Him and with those who, having put their faith in Christ, have gone before us. (Revelation 21:1-4)

THIS is the CHRIST, writes Lewis, we set against every argument and/or circumstance that tries to convince us that God is not good. Is God good? One look at the cross and the empty tomb shouts YES throughout eternity. In the Watts home, God is still GOD – and God is still GOOD. And, one day, this “mirror through which we see dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:12) will give way to perfect sight, no more pain, no more tears, no more death. One day….

John wrote, “And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new…..And behold, I am coming soon.” (Revelation 21:5; 22:7)


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