Monday, September 20, 2010

Pursuing What God Wants In Grief

Pastor Dean recently sent out this paraphrase of I Peter 4:1:

"Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”

Does that verse grab you, too? See if you follow my line of thought. One of the dangers of grief--a danger of wanting the old life back--is that we can so easily be caught up in regret, we grow unaware of real life, shrouded in sentimental desire. If only we had one more day, if only we could have said good-bye, if only we had gone first, if only, if only, if only . . . If we don't snap these thoughts under control they will tyrannize us!

I few months after my husband died I remember telling a friend on the phone, "I know Jesus said he came to give us life --and not just life, ABUNDANT life. Well, I've had that abundance in many ways, but now it's abundant in PAIN and I don't want it! I don't want an abundant life, I want an anesthetized life!" 

Sometimes I'm shocked at my own stupidity. I was choosing numb over normal, my wants over the wonders that God had in store for me.

But the good news is that God used that conversation to draw a line in the sand. I could stand on one side or another: abundant or anesthetized. I could surrender that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. I could trade it in to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I wanted. I believe this is what growing through grief is all about for the Christian. Day by day, moment by moment, God offers abundant life. Yes, abundant pain included. And abundant grace to cope. He gently uncurls fingers clutched around the life we had planned, and he opens our hands to the wonder of the amazing days ahead of us.

Take a look at your hands. How open are your fingers today?
Lord Jesus, Help us. Please. Help us think like you do, and open our hands to the abundant life you have waiting for us to begin. Amen
ferree

P.S. Have you ever thought about blogging? Try your hand at it this Thursday! Also, Book Club in October! Two choices: From One Widow to Another by Miriam Neff, OR The Empty Chair-Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. De Vries

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