“The Lord is good.”
Psalm 100:5 (ESV)
Did the deluge of choices begin immediately for you?
For me they began at the hospital.
What do I do now?
Do I go home?
Can I trust myself to drive?
These were the first of many choices I didn’t want to face. Even though my husband had been battling metastatic cancer, his death stunned me and produced both soul-numbing and penetrating agony. It also sent my mind reeling to assimilate the reality that he was truly gone from me and with His Lord and mine. Amidst the many unwanted choices required from day one, and in the aftermath, a larger question has always been present:
Who will I be when all the dust settles?
It’s a fair question. Have you wondered who you will be? Who are you becoming? We know we cannot finish the same way we entered this experience. Our spouses’ death was life-altering to each of us. We continue here, but as we do, how are we altered?
How we respond to our experiences is defining. A singular challenge is that the One who allowed our grief circumstances, is the very One who has our means to function in them. The very grace of God is His empowerment to us. However, it is difficult to hold two truths which seem at odds. Here’s an example from my own story:
The same God who loved me so much He gave His only begotten Son to suffer and die for me, is the same God who allowed the staggering pain of my husband’s cancer, death, and my own grief. These two things are at odds, valid as they are different.
I have learned to hold one truth within the other by using an eternal lens to view the present.
I hold the truth that God allowed the staggering pain of my husband’s cancer, death, and my own grief, in the hand of the other truth—that God sent Christ for love of me, my husband, our children… to offer all people the opportunity to know His love eternally.
How we choose to hold the two truths of our stories determines much about how we are altered by our losses and who we become.
This is our greater choice. We can view the temporary by the eternal or the eternal by the temporary. One inspires closeness to God and access to His grace. The other tends to do the opposite. My choice is to view the unwanted alterations to my life by the greater truth: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” – Eph. 1:3 (NIV) God’s love and goodness are undeniable.
My choice is to avoid giving the pain command to alter my view of God. I don’t have to understand it all. The cross tells me enough.
Precious Lord, we ask for Your empowering grace and the eternal Truth of Who You are and what You did for us to frame how we face every alteration in our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Janene lives in the Dallas area, surrounded by her children, their sweethearts, two grandchildren, and a host of wonderful friends. Janene married her beloved Frank in 1972 and enjoyed 40 precious years with him. Four months after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, Frank lost his rigorous battle against bladder cancer. Frank left a void so vast, it was like a black hole which threatened to swallow Janene whole. However, God’s faithfulness has been exceptional. As a retired minister at a local church, she spends her time painting, mentoring, serving in Stephen Ministry leadership, and seeks to trust Christ in this new season of life.