This week in my Bible study, the teaching leader was talking about crisis and suffering in our lives. She said, “God takes us to places we don’t want to go to help us achieve what our heart really wants….to trust Him more. True faith is believing God and courageously acting on His Word.” She also mentioned a chapter in John Piper’s book, “Don’t Waste Your Life” called Don’t Waste Your Suffering. I have read this book and led some teens through the book study….it is excellent! But her mention of this made me think of the following post that my daughter, Katie wrote three weeks after Greg passed away. She speaks such Truth and it is a great reminder for all of us. The song at the end with the John Piper segment is amazing and I have listened to it many times over the last three years. I pray it brings you courage and Hope today in whatever crisis or suffering you may currently be experiencing!
Trusting His Plan,
Today, instead of sharing my own writing, I am sharing a post that my daughter, Katie, posted on her blog. She has been able to express so beautifully some of the things that have just been too painful for me to share. I am so very thankful for all three of my children! They are such blessings to me, especially during this time of grief and sadness. I love you Katie, Emilie and Jacob!
Heartache, Soul-Tears, and the Gospel
Posted on November 14, 2013by Kathryn1209
It’s been a little over three weeks since I lost my dad. On the one hand, it seems like just yesterday that I was walking in the door, going to give him a hug and a kiss. On the other hand, it seems like an eternity. My days go seemingly quick, as I’m busy with school, work, and friends. But the nights? Sometimes the nights are hard. Sometimes the nights are horribly, painfully hard.
In the quiet hours, that’s when the darkness seems to creep in. Flashbacks come, images burned in my brain that I just can’t seem to erase. I walk through the ICU hallway in my mind, down to that horrible room filled with machines, lights, beeping, whirring. I can still hear the sobbing, see the tears, feel the cruel heartbreak lacing the very air. I breathe it in. It consumes me, consumes all of us. My voice plays over in my mind, choking out my final words to my dying father. “I love you, Dad. You were the best I could have ever asked for. Thank you. I love you, I love you, I love you.” I hear the deafening silence following his unresponsiveness. I watch as my mom, sister, brother, grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and friends all enter that ominous hallway, taking their turns to say their last words. I lay my head against Dad’s chest, his heart beating slower and slower. I hold his hand, squeezing, desperately trying to cling to every last bit of life. I stare at my family’s faces. I see my mom, watching the love of her life take his last breaths. I see my siblings, bawling as life fades. I see my family, surrounding a son, brother, and uncle that they love. I hear the voice of a fourteen year old boy with his hand on his dad’s chest and tears in his eyes say, “Mom, his heart stopped beating.” The room goes cold. A numb ache consumes me. Just like that, life is snatched away.
Nighttime. Darkness. Scenes replay, flashbacks come. The stomach churns, a nauseous, gut-wrenching grief. A knife, stabbed deep. Salty tears burn and the wounded heart aches. Grief, pain, death- they are no respecter of persons. Yet, in a way, I welcome it. Not that I would ever choose this for myself, but this soul-searing hurt… maybe this is what it feels to be human. To know helplessness and brokenness, to desperately hope that there’s something outside of me, something bigger than myself. The pain reminds me of just how tragic sin is and death reeks of something absurdly unnatural. It tears at my very soul, screaming, “this is not the way life was intended to be! It’s not right!” And it’s not. Nothing is right about cancer or death and it certainly is not the way life was meant to be lived. Pain reminds me of that truth. Pain leads to desperation; a dark, overwhelming desperation that crushes all of humanity. Soul-wringing hurt reminds me that I and the rest of humanity are on level ground, a battle ground littered with broken hearts, crushed dreams, and desperate souls. It is only once I begin to grasp this desperation that I can truly appreciate the hope offered in the Gospel.
During Dad’s battle with cancer, whenever I would get frustrated or question why, he would always tell me, “Katie, we don’t get to choose.” He’s right, we don’t get to choose. This is the portion dealt me. I do, however, get to choose how to receive it; fists clenched tight in stubborn ingratitude, or hands open, trustingly receiving whatever the Lord gives? I choose the latter. I choose to embrace the pain, to let it cut deep, to fully hurt. I choose to cry soul-tearing sobs and to breathe in heartbreak. However, I also choose to look up, to let grace kiss my tears away, to let the soul-mender heal, and to hope again. May this be my heart’s cry: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
This is a song that the Lord has been using to truly speak to my heart and soul. Refuse to ignore the pain. Embrace it and worship God in the midst of it.