This week a dear friend wrote to me sharing her concerns — not the least of them — grief for her Marine son killed in action. She wrote, “I feel I am in free fall.” I looked up “free fall,” and this is what I found as defined by Wikipedia:
“A skydiver’s free fall, after reaching terminal velocity, produces the sensation of the body’s weight being supported on a cushion of air.”
When I read that last phrase, that the body feels it is supported by a “cushion of air,” I immediately thought of that lovely verse in Isaiah 41:10 when our Father says, “…I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isn’t that a comforting picture? As we fall in our pain, God Himself is there holding us up, like that cushion of air, comforting, protecting, easing us back to earth where we may stand again on solid ground. For the Christian, our solid ground is upon Jesus Himself, our rock in any storm.
In November, 2013, I wrote a blog entry entitled, “Observing Grief.” To all of you who are hurting today or grieving some loss, I repeat this for you now. May you be blessed with the balm of our Father’s peace even as you “free fall” in your pain.
For the Christian, handling grief has been misunderstood — by other Christians. I have met Christians who somehow manage to brush aside all sorrow with a sweeping declaration that we must rejoice and give thanks in all things. I cautiously suggest that these well-meaning Christians have missed something very real, such as:
Jesus wept over Jerusalem, Christians mourned when Stephen was stoned to death, Peter cried bitter tears at his own sin, Christians cried deeply when they knew they would never see Paul again on this earth. The list goes on, in both the old and new testaments, of followers of God who grieved, cried, and experienced great sorrow in life. Why then, is there such misunderstanding today?
The answer is nothing at all sinister; it’s just fellow Christians, deeply desiring to “rejoice in all things and again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4) without fully understanding the whole of the picture. Too often, I have met Christians who actually feel guilty that they feel the emotion of sadness. Somehow, they feel they are not honoring Jesus, are expressing weakness, and are not trusting Father to be their everything. If that applies to any of you reading this, it is my prayer that this blog will be of good help to you.
You see, we are created in God’s own image. It stands to reason then, that our ability to cry was also created by Him. Our tears are actually very precious to our Father. That’s why it says of Him in Psalm 56:8, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” The pain, grief, sadness, and sorrow that any of us feels at any time, is precious to our Heavenly Father. He counts them, each one, and He lovingly pours in His own healing comfort to gently ease our pain away. As we realize more and more, that God Almighty, Himself, cares when we hurt, and that He wipes our tears away into His bottle, then healing and peace seeps into those hurting places. When that happens, that is when we say with joy and wonder, “rejoice in all things and again I say rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4). Knowing that our Father loves and cares so deeply is what makes us rejoice. We don’t rejoice in the thing that caused sorrow — we rejoice that no matter the sorrow, our Father cares.
When we realize that, and accept the love and healing that He has for us, we are able to more quickly and easily move away from abject sorrow. Then, we walk in the light of His love. Never deny your grief, but never resign yourself to sorrow all the days of your life. Instead, know that your Father cares. He is holding your tears. He is pouring in His own comfort, and He always has new plans to unfold for you, to bless you and bring you much joy.