One of the most sorrow filled moments of my life came this past summer. It was unexpected. It was quick. It was devastating. I wasn’t ready, at least not then, but the lessons I learned will stick with me forever.
For the past four days I had been working at a camp in the middle of nowhere, helping special needs individuals. I would lead the blind around, serve food, and help wherever it was needed. On that particular day, I was sitting and talking with some of them when the Assistant Director handed me a thin slip of pink paper. It notified me that I had received an urgent call the night before. It seemed odd, I never got calls there.
I walked to the office, a little confused. What could be that important? Did someone from my church pass away? Did one of my siblings get seriously injured? Is my cat okay? I walked through the doorway into the cool, air-conditioned air of the Business Office.
“Could I use the phone?” I noticed my voice was shaking as I asked the Secretary.
“Sure,” she handed me a wireless phone, the only one in the office.
I slowly dialed our home number, knowing full well that once I hit the call button, there is no going back. I would hear what the urgent message is, whether I wanted to or not. One ring. Two rings. An answer.
The voice on the other end sounded as if it had been crying. It was my mother. “Hello?” I asked. At this point I had begun to lose composure. Something was wrong. Very wrong.
Within a minute, my dad was on the phone and had explained what happened – my grandmother had rapidly declined and passed away the night before. The urgent call was an attempt to contact me so I could talk to her before she died…
Words cannot express the sorrow I felt when I heard this. I was blindsided, I never saw it coming. How could I? She had been in and out of the hospital for the past few years, and this stay seemed no different from all the others. That day was one of the few times I have ever wept in sorrow.
How did I overcome this sorrow? I feel the best way to share that is with a couple entries from my journal:
Peace. I feel peace. Wind chimes. A slight breeze. A hammer and cars in the distance. Birds. The rustling of leaves. Looking out, alone, from the tabernacle porch. Peace. Everything is going to be okay. I’ll be fine.
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
When sorrow overwhelms us, we must run to Christ and His Word. He never promised us it would be easy, but He did give the following invitation:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Just as a healthy fear of God leads to an immovable faith in God, healthy guilt over sin leads to victory over sin through Christ, righteous anger against immorality leads to a desire to see those bound by it delivered, and finding joy and pleasure in God leads to a desire for Him that cannot be easily quenched, spending time with God during our greatest sorrows leads to a trust in Him that surpasses circumstance.
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