Monday, February 24, 2014

Pursuing What God Wants In Grief

 "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.” (paraphrase of I Peter 4:1, by my friend Pastor Dean, after he was widowed).
Does that verse grab you like it does me? One of the dangers of grief is the danger of wanting the old life back. We can so easily be caught up in regret that we grow unaware of real life. Everything is shrouded in sentimental desire with thoughts like these: 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!

About three months after my first husband died I remember telling a friend on the phone, "I know Jesus said he came to give us life --and not just ordinary life, but 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 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 realized what I was saying, and I realized I could stand on one side or another: abundant or anesthetized.

I had a choice. I could surrender to what Pastor Dean calls that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Or 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

5 comments:

  1. Love this! God seems to be telling me to embrace joy (abundance) from every side. In fact. I wrote about this on my Going Ashore status today. I need to listen to that voice.

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  2. Sometimes I become paralyzed with my body in the present and my mind in yesterday. Physically living still here, but emotionally living still there? How do we shake out of this ordeal?
    Are we suppose to process this or should we leave it our Heavenly Father? I can only go so far and there is just so much I can do for myself. And/or should we let Christ be our processor and just take it a day at time? The new strange normal is the hardest to cope with. He promises His grace is sufficient, forgive me Lord when I doubt your grace out of my own weaknesses of anger, fear, bitterness, confusion. To trust when I don't understand. Robin

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  3. I believe we can un-be-knowingly become fixated on our situation with an ongoing unhealthy-ness fixation of looking within, without and around. We fail (myself included) to keep looking up and this is where our faith is tried. I believe it was Job who spoke about being tried as gold in the fire. Our Sunday School lesson yesterday was about suffering, & about when George Muller's wife died he said: "I seek to honor God in my suffering and will continue to kiss the hand that has afflicted me".
    Faith doesn't come easily and it is thru our much adversity and suffering we become stronger. We suffer so we may help those around us who are experiencing the same thing. May God's grace enable us to keep looking up. **

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  4. I appreciate each of these comments; they're like wonderful, thought provoking riches. Thank you so much, may you see God's blessings......

    ReplyDelete

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