God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. Psalm 19:1 MSG
What’s not to love about this picture? The colors, under a canopy of thick clouds, are brilliant hues of red, yellow, orange and green. I don’t have the luxury of living in Alaska where I can savor views like this, but we are seeing fall colors emerge here, too. We don’t have tundra, but the maples, oaks, and birches are strutting their beauty like papa peacocks. Occasional winds and rain bring leaves fluttering to the ground in whirlwinds, constantly shifting their positions in a game of tag. All too soon we are raking and blowing the leaves into fluffy piles like the white stuff soon to follow.
A few years back I was walking outside and talking to God, while getting some exercise. The air was cool. The bright fall colors made more vivid by the sun’s reflection. Gorgeous. Just in that moment of peace, a thud hit my stomach. My son was not able to see this beautiful day. He was sleeping under a blanket of soft green a few miles away. “Not fair,” I wailed at heaven above the blue sky. No, not the least bit fair. And your loss is not fair either. We would change our circumstances in a heartbeat, but it is beyond our control.
Our loss was the result of suicide. What was the cause of yours? Cancer? Street drugs? Vehicular homicide? Old age? Or from a zillion other choices? Tough coping isn’t it? If the death of your loved one was recent, the pain is horrendously harsh, and I am so sorry. The force with which reality hits us, pushing our backs to the wall, defies comprehension.
I chose to bury myself for weeks, months, after the death of my son. I didn’t have a job to go to like my husband did. He said it gave him some relief to be forced to concentrate on other things. I was slowly being smothered by four walls which felt like they were closing in for the kill. Silence was brutal, broken only by the occasional ring of the telephone. I couldn’t care less. I had no place to go. No hole to dig where I could bury the pain. It was mine to keep forever. I did not want it, but I did not want to give it up entirely either. The pain of losing one of my children was more than I wanted to bear, but I had no choice. He was my flesh and blood. I loved him from the moment I realized he was growing inside me. I could not stop loving him in death. I know I will love him as long as I draw breath.
Sad, emotional picture, I know. Over time I have been able to release lots of the pain washed in tears and words. As God guided me to journal my thoughts in what became a book, “Shattered by Suicide,” I felt the pain shift, suffocating me less and less. Eventually it became obvious to my foggy brain that the Healer was guiding my every move. He was in this mess with me. What a defining moment! God was in this with me, and He will never leave me, says Deuteronomy 31:6. Our Creator God (Job 35:10), the same One who created the breathtaking scenery in the picture above, was not going anywhere. He was, and is, still holding my hand as we walk side by side. Sometimes we chat. Sometimes we walk along in silence absorbed in the beauty that He smiles upon us every day. Take a look around. And then . . .
Take a moment to thank Him. I just did.
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. Ephesians 2:7-10
Verses shared from The Message (MSG