Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matt 5:4 NIV).
That first year after John’s death was rough. The second year was at least as painful. And the third year a few rays of sunshine began to peak through. In the months immediately following the death of my 22-year old son to suicide, I wished for the pain to end.
I wanted God to take the sorrow away. How long was the grief going to last? It felt like the grief itself was my new problem. Or was it?
Let me explain by giving a dog analogy.
Haylee, our golden retriever pup, thinks her problem is the cone. It’s the gift the vet gives dogs after going under the knife making them neither male or female. The plastic cone of shame is attached to the collar making it impossible for the dog to lick his stiches. And Haylee has been crying most of the day.
Haylee is not only recovering from being neutered, but I believe she is clinically depressed. If she could speak she would be using foul language. Today, I found Haylee’s head buried in my husband’s closet between his hanging shirts. Uncharacteristically aloof, she wouldn’t even turn when I called.
If I could communicate with Haylee, I think it would help. I’d explain the purpose of the cone. And I’d assure her that the cone is temporary. In a week, it will be hauled away by the trash truck.
This whole cone/dog thing reminds me of some of my struggles in life.
I’ve had conversations with Jesus asking Him to fix a circumstance I view as a barrier to my happiness.
When He doesn’t, my self-talk can be filled with whining and self-pity. Especially about problems I don’t see a purpose for. I pray for God to remove these obstacles.
I especially desired for Him to take away my grief after the my son’s death. At times I believed the problem was my overwhelming sadness.
From God’s perspective, I believe He allows heartache to run its course so that we can heal.
Often when I’m counseling others in the midst of grief, their chief concern is their overwhelming negative emotions. Perhaps it’s the crushing sadness after a divorce, loss of a family member, or some other disappointment with life. What we often don’t realize is that the processing of these difficult emotions will ultimately bring about hope and healing.
No one likes the emotional pain that occurs after we experience loss. Most of us would rather just move forward leaving sad emotions behind.
Grief doesn’t work that way. We need to go through the grief process and feel in order to heal.
Grief, like Haylee’s cone, isn’t the problem. It’s there for a reason.
Grief is God’s way of bringing us to a better place.
So let us embrace the grief journey together.
Is there some problem that you are asking God to remove? Could it be God’s way of bringing about your ultimate hope and healing?
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