It’s hard, this life.
This summer, in particular, has felt like one gasp after another – personally, globally. Murder is everywhere, in every form. The pre-born, the just born, the born not-long-ago, the bearing, the bearing arms, the unarmed, the armed forces, the forced to bear arms, the forces of faith and fortitude born within me… they’re all being murdered all around us every. single. day.
What do you do when you can’t breathe anywhere?
Our hearts weren’t made to grieve all the time.
But how do you not when pictures of unattached pre-born hands and legs in petri dishes pop up on your screen? You can’t unsee that. You can’t unfeel that.
How are we not swallowed whole by grief when the heads of babies and children and pregnant women are rolling daily on the desert floor, sometimes at the hands of pre-schoolers who should be rolling playground balls instead?
How do we keep our heads above water when our police officers and Marines are being shot in theirs by career criminals and brainwashed terrorists who don’t understand that they are loved by the Creator and are worth so much more than the identities they’ve settled for?
How do we breathe when racism has choked out the breath of unarmed men because hundreds of years of a false sense of superiority keeps getting passed down in white families in our country?
How do we not grieve when we know the one behind each and every one of these incidences hasn’t stopped there but has incited a personal attack inside each one of us, seeking to kill and destroy whatever faith and hope we have in God?
It’s too much, this daily onslaught of heartbreak.
We have two choices, as I see it.
We can let the grief win. Here’s how that process typically looks for me:
- Hear bad news/realize Satan has the upper hand in my spiritual life.
- Feel like I am suffocating.
- Try to combat that uncomfortable, paralyzing feeling with any manner of distractions.
- Try to encase my heart with steel in an attempt to not feel anything.
- Fail at all of these things.
- Feel depressed.
- Get angry I am losing the battle against grief, depression, and Satan.
- Lament things will never get better.
- Stop making any effort at anything whatsoever.
- Generally irritate myself and everyone around me.
As you can see, this is a super mature, wise, and productive way to handle grief. It enhances every relationship I have, including my relationships with myself and with God. My loved ones really get the message that I love them, and Jesus is glorified through me.
I may or may not have chosen this approach to grief the majority of the summer, and that may or may not have played a huge role in why I have contributed nothing to this blog for six weeks. (You’re welcome.)
The alternative response to the chronic soul-crushing chaos that constantly threatens to consume us is to use the grief for our good.
We can choose (so I’ve been told) to see grief as a gift.
A grieving heart is one who understands things are broken. And it’s not until we understand that reality that we can comprehend how dire our need for a Savior is. And it’s not until we understand our desperate need for Jesus that we will choose to sprint to Him for holding and healing and hope – for Him. And, of course, it’s not until we draw near to Him that anything will be right at all in our lives and in our hearts. And none of this will happen without our experiencing grief in the first place.
Grief is a gift that leads a willing heart to the heart of God.
And when we get there, He gives us the breath we can’t find any other way.