Posts Tagged: faith

The Shortest Route through Grief

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Proverbs 3:5-7Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

Simple is a loaded word. It carries the weight of my desires, failures, and pleasures. I have complained a lot, through the years, when things break down, or seem to take too long. “Why can’t things be more simple?” Obviously, grief is no exception to the rule. We must go through it if we want to live life to the fullest. If there were a short cut through suffering and loss, I’d take it.

But scripture states clearly that there is! The shortest route between two points is obedience to God. For all of my complaining I am my own worst enemy when it comes to simplifying life. What makes my life more complicated is sin. I don’t want to go through suffering, so I have tried to avoid it, medicate it with alcohol, bad relationships, and running away or fighting my way through. None of which have ever worked. God has offered all of us a shortcut through Christ.

Since the moment the officer arrived on my doorstep with the nightmare of Jonathan’s death I have had a choice. Do I go through grief my way, or God’s way? He told us we would suffer and grieve in this life, but he also promised us that we would be comforted. The short cut is to love the Lord my God with all of my soul, heart, and mind. To lean not on my own understanding, but to acknowledge him in all my ways. God will make my paths straight!

By no means have I fully accomplished this, but it is my goal. When I accomplish the above command, I will go through this grief the shortest route possible and be comforted along the way to boot. Grief will be but a speck! It is when I disobey God and go my own way that things get more complex. Just ask the Israelites who spent forty years wandering through the wilderness when they had had God himself leading the way! If I want a shortcut through grief then I’ll keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith.

Guided by the Comforter: Learning to listen to God’s voice

Acts 4:31And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Daniel wanted Jonathan to be a part of Halloween. So we took the huge poster that the funeral home created and stuck it in the window with a talk bubble. I had to smile at Daniel’s insistence, and that my spirit so readily agreed to it. I’ve had more of those moments this week. A calmness has infused my being that certainly wasn’t there a week ago. I have no illusion that I am no where near the end of grieving, but what is happening is that I am having more and more moments of genuine joy. It was a pleasure to take the kids trick or treating.

Even though the disciples had Jesus back for forty days, they still had to grieve the loss of their friend after he ascended to heaven. But boy the difference in how they grieved. They went from locking themselves in a room and hiding away to praying together, celebrating the resurrection and waiting for the comforter (the Holy Spirit) to come. They didn’t have to wait long before things began moving and shaking. The Comforter had arrived!

In my previous posts I have mentioned that I am allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me. This isn’t rocket science, but it also isn’t simple either. Just like the disciples we need to spend time with Jesus, get to know his voice, his character, and his love for humanity. Otherwise, we will may find ourselves being guided by our own selfish desires or the voices of others who do not have our best interests in mind. These voices will always lead us away from God. I love the song of Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns, it describes the struggle we have with knowing the Shepherd’s voice. Since I was a little girl I’ve had a lot of voices in my head (don’t laugh, unless you’re my siblings) and the loudest was my overpowering, obnoxious critic. Nothing I did or ever could do was good enough. It got to the point that I stopped trying and quit a lot of things I actually enjoyed.

A couple of year ago I really began asking, ‘How do I know God’s voice?’ My question sprung from John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” I began discerning what the Holy Spirit sounded like and practicing stepping out in faith and acting upon that voice’s direction. Amazing things began to happen, and a power that I had never been able to tap into began surging through my spirit. Following the direction of the Holy Spirit takes practice and a solid knowledge of the other parts of the Trinity. I’m still learning and growing in this area, but since Jonathan’s death, the fear that had once held me back from trusting the Holy Spirit’s direction and acting on it is getting kicked out.

I had a bit of fear when I approached a complete stranger on the prompting of the Lord. I held back, but the urging became even stronger, and she kept looking at the books I had on the table as she waited for her coffee. I felt awkward, but managed to introduce myself and a new connection was born, very much in line with the previous connections that God has been forming since Jonathan’s death.

Here is the criteria that I follow:
1. The voice of the Holy Spirit will never contradict the other parts of the Trinity (revealed in scripture).
2. I will never have to rush in, or be impulsive, the Lord is not limited by time.
3. The Holy Spirit will always be affirmed. (Example: The woman at the coffee shop thought that we might be in the same field)
4. Pray and be open each day.
5. The Holy Spirit always has humanity’s best in mind. He will strengthen us and bring the resources for us to help others.

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