Friday I shared how I am grieving for a friend; but within my grief there has been healing for myself.
My dear friend’s loss happens as I’m quickly reaching my first wedding anniversary without my beloved husband, and a few days after that “non-versary” will be the 11th month mark of his passing. I have been struggling with these approaching dates for a few weeks now. Last Wednesday I finally realized that I was, once again, neglecting a precious gift from God: prayer partners; so I asked my church to pray with me during this time.
I immediately felt stronger emotionally and spiritually. I felt surrounded by God’s love and comfort. Funny how that works? Nah, it’s Biblical:
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”—Matthew 18:20 (NIV)
Then as I read the news about the death of my friend’s husband, I fell apart—again. I found myself sobbing out loud, my body convulsing with the tears that came from my torn heart as I read the words “most difficult message”, for I knew what words were coming next: “He died this afternoon.”
As I shed tears, I cried out to God, “WHY!? OH WHY!?” “Why did you not heal his body!? Why did you do this to my dear friend!? Why must she walk this path!?” I had prayed for several months that God would spare my dear friend this pain. Yet God chose not to heal her husband’s body, and so I was angry with God. It seemed so unfair. All of this sorrow and loss.
I had eleven months to prepare in a small way for my own husband’s death. After all, we were told to expect maybe six months, and God gave us eleven; but it was still devastating when it all happened. I could only imagine what my dear friend must be dealing with, as it seemed that her husband was healing and going to make a recovery. I cried and prayed, and when I was calm enough I called on my prayer partners at church to pray with me. All Thursday evening I prayed and cried out to God and spent time in His word. Still I went to bed unsettled and had a restless night.
I awoke Friday morning still hurting spiritually and emotionally. Part of my morning devotions include Our Daily Bread, and it seemed that Friday’s was written for me. It ended with these words:
God’s masterpiece of redemption is the symphony we are playing, and ultimately everything will work together for His good purposes. God is the composer of our lives. His song is perfect, and we can trust Him.
I found myself rejoicing in my Savior’s love in new ways. I was reminded anew that God alone would sustain me, that He would comfort me, that He would give me peace, and that He would put joy in my heart.
As I went about the day on Friday, I found myself praying for my friend as I drove, and the Holy Spirit reminded me:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
Struck anew that God was in control, even as I grieved for my friend and for myself, I was able to smile. I enjoyed the drive. I enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation. I was able to smile at strangers and say “hello”. I stopped for a meal, and even though I was alone, I was content, for I could truly say …
“The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.”
—Psalm 118:14 (NASB)
I slept in His comfort last night, trusting that He would give to my friend the same comfort and love that He’s shed upon me; and trusting that eventually she would find the joy that only Christ can give.
I realize the days ahead may be a bit difficult, but I know the Savior who loves me so much that He died on a cross, that I might have forgiveness of my sins. I also can rejoice knowing that one day I will join my dear husband in glory, and we will spend eternity together praising our Savior, for …
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”—Revelation 5:12