What’s the Point of Going On?

Have you ever asked yourself this question “What’s the point of going on?”  Have you ever been in a place where life is not going the way that you planned it? You’ve said, “Really, God?!  REALLY!”, pleaded with God to change your situation, done everything you thought was right, prayed all the prayers you knew to pray begging God to give you the answer that you desire only to find that your desire was not God’s desire for you and His answer was no?

For the last six weeks I have been listening to a series of messages by Andy Stanley called IN THE MEANTIME . Never in my life have I heard messages such as these that answer the question What do I do in the meantime? I would encourage you to take the time to listen to each and every one of them, but yesterday’s message entitled Comfort Zone was especially meaningful to me because it answers the question “What’s the point of going on?”

The purpose of my past, present and on-going grief and the reason for me to go on is that because of the losses of my husband and both of my parents, God has uniquely qualified me, positioned me and equipped me to comfort others who are going through those same losses. He give mes the understanding and ability to comfort them with the comfort that God Himself has/is giving me. And, it is this divine purpose for my pain that instills life into my soul which enables me to go on.

 There have been times when I have heard someone say that they will not accept the situation that God has put them in. I have to admit that there have been times that I have felt that very same way just because I just don’t like being a widow. But, will holding onto the way that I wanted my life to be change the way that my life is? Absolutely not.  In fact, it only serves to tie me up, put me in a dark box, slam the lid, encircle the box with heavy chains and snap the padlock tightly shut as I hear the clink of the key being thrown far away. What would be the purpose of that? Nothing!  Absolutely nothing! It not only deprives me of God’s comfort and the comfort that another widow might want to give me, but it deprives me of the life-giving experience of comforting another widow with the comfort that I could have allowed God to give to me.

So, where are you?  Are you asking yourself the question “What’s the point of going on?” as you throw yourself into that black box? Or, are you doing the best you can to accept the place where God has put you as you ask God to comfort you as only He can do?

Lessons Job Learned While Grieving

One of the hardest books in the Bible for me to read or listen to via audio Bible is the book of Job. Even though I have not lost as many loved ones or possessions as he did, I can still relate to great grief. What happened to Job had never happened to anyone before. That meant that there was no one human that could really understand all of the emotions that Job was feeling and what he was going through. Not only was he broken emotionally, but he was broken physically and even spiritually to an extent.  No, he never turned his back on God, but he did question God.

As I was thinking about his life  last week, I began to wonder what lessons Job learned in that dark place. After doing some research, I found that the first thing he saw was that there were depths and degrees of pride and self-sufficiency in himself of which he had never been conscious. As I applied this to my own life, I could see that I, too, have been guilty of those very things. How many times have I done something just to make myself look or feel good?

When Job was in that place where he could see no sin in himself, he charged God with being unfair. But the moment God showed him the sin that was deeply embedded in his heart, Job immediately repented without hesitation, argument, or self-defense.

Another thing that Job realized that without God’s divine help, he was totally and completely weak and thoroughly undependable. After all, his body was covered with boils and he was in extreme physical pain. Emotionally, he was in that place of shock and fog that every person that has lost a very close loved one goes through. There was absolutely nothing he could do to help someone else.

All through the book of Job, he is breaking into prayer constantly always laying his complaint before God. Job’s friends never prayed for him. They never asked God to relieve his suffering or asked for help, wisdom or understanding on their part. They ignored God, but Job was forever crying out to God in his bewilderment asking for help and for wisdom.

When God answered Job and cleared the fog in him mind long enough for him to see things differently, Job’s highest expression of faith was in understanding the limitations of his humanity and not assuming that he had all the facts by which he could condemn and judge a holy God. He pronounced God as just and holy in all that He does.

My favorite scene in this book of the Bible is the scene where Job has a chance to get even with his friends. They came to him in humility asking for pardon and for his prayers.  How easy it would have been for Job to have said, “So! You’ve come around have you, you self-righteous pitiful excuses for friends! You accused me of things that were not true, ran me down, and said all of those wicked things about me! I’ll let you sweat a little bit!  I’ll get even with you!

Isn’t that how we as widows feel when those closest to us don’t have any idea what we are going through and don’t meet the expectations that we have for them in the way that they treat us? Isn’t it easy in our hurt to become bitter? But, Job didn’t do that. He chose not to treat them the way that they had mistreated him. In fact, he had the most beautiful spirit of forgiveness that you see in the Bible. He realized that if the shoe had been on the other foot, he could have been just as prideful, pompous and judgmental as they were.

There’s nothing more contrary in a Christian’s spirit than an unforgiving heart, holding a grudge against someone else, refusing to talk to someone or being cold and frosty towards someone.  Have I struggled with that?  I have to admit that I have and it is something that I have to continue to work on.

Where are you in your journey of grief? What lessons have you learned about yourself?