Counsel for your season in the tomb.

21 02 2016

feel buriedWhen God has asked you to surrender to His will, and when you have sacrificed at the foot of the cross, you will come to places on the trail where you feel buried. Perhaps you there now.

Burial experiences are opportunities to draw near to Jesus and abide with Him in a way that only the Spirit can show you. You may be sad as a direct result of that which you sacrificed at the cross. In that case, your sadness is a natural and good outcome of that which pleases God. Try to see it from that perspective. You have had to give up something you cherished, and now you feel the sadness of loss.

You did not invent your emotions. God made you an emotional being when He formed you in your mother’s womb. Just as it is healthy for you to care for your body, it is healthy for you to acknowledge your God-given emotions. Grieve your losses. Articulate your frustrations to yourself, to close friends, and to God. Recognize and feel your anger, loneliness, impatience, and discouragement.

If you sacrificed something that was not pleasing to God but was very gratifying to you, there may be a strong pull to “uncrucify” it. You may need to reinforce the sacrifice for awhile. Bury what is dead, and keep it buried. Enlist friends to help you. Fill your time and life with other wholesome things. Ask God to draw you back into His Word, even though you may not feel up to it. Pray for God to confirm the sacrifice you have made. Keep praying your “nevertheless” prayer. Reiterate “into your hands I commit my spirit” – again.

I believe God uses delay in every disciple. We in the West need this because we are generally in a hurry. Rather than resist delay, try to enter into it as a time to intentionally experience abiding in Christ. Take time away to be with Jesus in solitude. Sit with Him in silence, mull over His words, enter into His experience in the tomb. Place yourself in stories where He came alongside people to sit with them, to touch them, or to cry with them. Prayerfully ask Him to show you how He wants to dwell more closely with you in this special time.

Resist the temptation to compare your experience with others. This is your unique journey. Your feelings of grief and loss will not be the same as others. You don’t know what others are experiencing privately.

This is not a time to accomplish very much, or even to learn a lot. Be still. Be present where you are. The Spirit of God will bring to mind what you need to consider. You don’t need to work hard in burial. Don’t squirm. Stay. Abide.


We who silently grieve

13 11 2015


Undesired chores emerge when tending to a loved one’s death. I call to close her cell phone number, and when asked to explain the reason, I speak around the lump in my throat that my wife is deceased. Okay, she says, let me take care of that change for you. She meant no harm by her efficiency.

I go to the bank to remove my wife’s name from an account. The officer asks for my reason. She is deceased, I say. Let me talk to my manager, she replies. I wait in my loneliness. I wait, sensing the emptiness of the chair beside me. The officer returns. We’ll need a death certificate, she announces, meaning no harm.

As I drive home to get the document, tears run down along my face and I wonder what it would cost a bank in lost time for an officer to say she is truly sorry for my loss. To save on expense she could even skip the word “truly.” Just a sorry would help.

But I must be realistic. She can’t know that I weep in bed for the space beside me that now lies empty and cold. She can’t know that I break down and weep at the kitchen sink where my wife once smiled for the joy of feeding her family.

The Facebook friend who praises his wife on their anniversary can’t care that I won’t have any more. Just as the proud engagement stings the woman who longs to get married, or the birth announcement pains the infertile couple that has hoped in vain for a child for years. Grandma’s baby pictures shown so proudly ache in the heart that never held one, or lost one.

I have no moral for this story. I intend no guilt to be felt. In fact, we need glad announcements to counter those that sadden. Perhaps I write for the one who, like me, hurts today. One who, like me, will hurt for a really long time. To you, friend, I say that they mean no harm. Please forgive me if I have said or done insensitive things to you. I am truly sorry for your pain, for your loss. And I mean the “truly.”