“Good Grief”

At various points in the last three months I have wanted to find out whoever came up with the phrase “good grief” and do physical harm to them. Too honest? Sorry. I suppose these are the sorts of thoughts you have when you are grieving. For the record there’s nothing good about it from where I am sitting. It makes colors fade to gray, food taste like ash, your stomach sink, your heart burn and your eyes sting with hot tears. In the thick of grief it is very difficult to keep your thoughts collected, and all but impossible to keep your emotions at bay. Besides drugs or alcohol, it is probably the most powerful mood/mind/body altering state you can be in, especially in the initial trauma of it all.

No, in my opinion, grief isn’t good. It is brutal and painful. Very, very painful.

However, like any bad thing, God is able to bring good out of it. The cross is proof. For one thing, grief causes you to focus. I found that it pulled my thoughts away from things that are superficial. The flood of sorrow blasting it’s way through your soul wipes out attention previously devoted to trivial things. It’s impossible to confront such powerful emotion and care about a Super Bowl commercial.

It also enhances your spiritual senses. Being so near to eternity causes you to almost be able to taste it. The unseen spiritual world becomes more vivid and more apparent than ever. There are moments when I can sense its nearness in a way that I have never in my life experienced. It’s as though God’s whisper is amplified in the deafening roar of death and loss.

There is also the good of being at a place where you are trusting God not day by day or hour by hour but literally minute by minute for the strength to go on. When you are grieving you ball up your fists but have no one to fight. You feel the impulse to run but there is no where to go. I have never felt so powerless, so weak and so desperate in my entire life. In the midst of it all, God was there. He was the rock that was higher than I. The tower to run to and be saved. The One who lifted up my head. He has upheld me marvelously with power from on high these 84 days since Lenya left this earth.

I am thankful for all these things. It is with gratitude that I look at God’s faithfulness in the midst of such confusion and pain. It is with a great sense of expectancy that I look forward to what He desires to bring out of it still. More than anything I am thankful for the fact that Jesus “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;” (Isaiah 53:4 NKJV)