Recently we have walked through a tragedy with two of our closest kids outside our family. It has been agony to say the least. We know they are not alone in their grief and know too that others have walked similar journeys, but when it happens to you or those near you it is entirely different to the casual reading of a tragedy in someone else life.
I have pondered many things these past two weeks:
The privilege of being there physically, we could have been anywhere in the world but we were 20 miles away. Yes he knew in advance, why didn’t he stop it, I don’t know, its a mystery but he put us there. He is Good.
The absolute honor of witnessing worship of our Good God in the midst of something which we cannot possible understand and which is pure agony. I will never forget this, to non believing observers it can look close to insanity but when you know he is good it is the only truly sane thing to do.
The love and care of nurses, weeping with them, praying with them. They were not ashamed of their faith, standing strong in it even though this tragedy is not an isolated one in their working lives.
I have watched my wife always it seems know just what to say or not to say anything and just be.
I have felt the depth of our Christian hope at another level in the stark reality of seeing that some have NO hope.
I have shared communion in the face of tragedy.
And all of this produces an awareness as Isaiah says:
“He (Jesus) is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
None of us want to be acquainted with grief and yet it is a part of life on earth and perhaps one of the places where the beauty of Jesus can be seen the most.
Sometimes we say we can’t imagine and yes that is true and helpful. It is saying we will not minimize your pain by comparing it with the worst experience of our lives which doesn’t even come close. But what it must never be is a excuse to step away, grief is a unique place to step in time with Jesus.
Put Jesus’s shoes on, just for a moment, walk with the one acquainted with grief and see what he says and does in grief, loss and trauma.
Bill Johnson says, “if I slow down long enough to see, then I will see that which changes me.”
Today I looked at facebook though my kids eyes, I walked down the street doing the same. I saw those celebrating in their lives what these two lost in theirs. It hurt.
I imagined, I didn’t come remotely close but I felt perhaps a little of what Jesus must feel as he looks at loss and grief. And out of that comes many things. Compassion of course but a deep thankfulness for our hope, the knowledge that he truly is ‘a very present help in time of trouble’ and a desire to never stop sharing good news while being willing to step into the valley of the shadow of death with those whose circumstances have taken them there.