How do people without faith get through the painful times? I’m not talking about a rough day at work or a squabble with a family member. I mean those moments of anguish when the loss feels as though it is more than one can bear.
As I type this, Christmas day is ten days away. In the last two days, I have received news that a friend is dealing with the fact that her husband has announced his desire for a divorce and another friend lost her husband yesterday after a long, difficult battle with cancer. Both of them have their faith to fall back on. That doesn’t make it easy for them. It simply means that they can fall into the arms of their Savior and let him bear the burden of the overwhelming grief that I’m sure they are battling.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time in prayer for both of these dear women and it’s made me want to hold my own precious husband just a bit tighter. But it’s had another interesting effect on me – I don’t want anyone that I care about to EVER face tragedies like divorce or the death of a beloved spouse without a Savior. I am more aware of the need to share the hope of Jesus with those around me so that, when the storms of life come (and they WILL come) they can know they have an anchor that will not allow grief to sweep them away. But I fear I lack courage at times. I have never done well with the door-to-door mode of evangelism and I can get very tounge-tied when it comes to sharing what I believe with friends. So I’m praying for courage and the ability to share with those I care about so that they can know hope no matter the circumstance they find themselves in. After all, can I really live with myself if someone faces a tragedy without hope all the while knowing that I could have introduced them to the source of that hope?
The toughest thing about dealing with the enemy is he knows our weak spots; those places where it’s easiest for him to do some damage and distract us. And boy did he hit a sore spot today! He got in there and messed with my thoughts in an area where he knows that I can easily be moved to self-doubt and self-loathing. With the holiday season in full-swing (and lots of demands on my time and energy) it was a quick trip from chastising myself for a plethora of mistakes to a pretty serious emotional funk.
But my God knows just how and when to step in! As I went to pick hubby up from his office, I spent some time in silent prayer. What’s sad is I might have avoided the whole miserable feeling if I had dealt with the “stinkin’ thinkin'” earlier in the day by praying! I’m a little slow! Anyway, when I picked hubby up, he noticed right away that something was “off”. Without intending to, I spilled the whole mess in his lap. I had not planned to say anything because I seriously believed it would cause a complete meltdown if I admitted what I was feeling to anyone. I got home to find my house filled with the sounds of laughter. Not to sound overly dramatic, but it was just the balm my beaten-up spirit and emotions needed. With four teenagers in my house – three of them girls – it’s not hard for them to find reasons to fuss at one another and there had been some minor level fussing before I left to get hubby. Arriving home and hearing them laugh with and enjoy one another could only be my Abba’s timing. Then hubby announced that he was taking the family to McDonald’s. No, it’s not a fine dining establishment but it meant that my weary body and mind did not have to worry about making dinner OR dealing with the mess it would create in my kitchen. The burden lifted a little more and I quietly excused myself to the bathroom where I lost it. Tears of relief and joy ran down my face. In the laughter of my children and the spontaneous gesture of my husband my Heavenly Daddy reminded me that he loves me. Scriptures ran through my brain, reminding just how much he cares for me. The enemy had spent the day pointing out all the ways I had failed as a woman, a wife, and a mother. My Abba undid all of that in two simple gestures that reminded me that my kids are still a work in progress (so are hubby and I for that matter!) and that he cares about even the little details in my life.
The lesson I need to take away from this is so simple that I’m a little ashamed I haven’t learned it already – the next time the enemy comes at me with a list of my failures, I’ll run to my Daddy right away and not wait so long!