Monday, April 2, 2012

The Choice

A friend sent out this paraphrase of I Peter 4:1 and it really struck me --- does it mean suffering and grief can help us let go of accepting a life that's not the way we'd hoped?
"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? 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; it's like we're shrouded in sentimental desire, preoccupied with thoughts like, "If only we had one more day . . . if only we could have said good-bye . . . if only I 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!"
I was shocked as I listened to myself! 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 saw that I could stand on one side or another---abundant or anesthetized.

I had a choice. I could give up 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, unfortunately, abundant pain is included. But there's also abundant grace to cope. He gently uncurls fingers clutched around the life we had planned, and he opens our hands to the wonder that we will breathe, we will live, we will open up to take in 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


  1. Powerful and so true. Thank-you for sharing this. I will be making a copy for myself and to share with others as needed,if you don't mind.

  2. Ruth, I'd be honored if you could use this and share it. Please include as the source. thanks!


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