I spoke in chapel last week, on losing the girls, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, and what I’ve been learning these past two months. Read part 1 first, and here is part 2…
We have no idea what went wrong. It was unpredictable, a fluke. And we’re never going to know why. So for the past ten weeks I’ve been adjusting to this life I never imagined and certainly never planned, this pain I never could have fathomed, this grief that makes my stomach hurt.
Here’s what I’m learning. When it comes to the pain, there’s no need to hide from it or bury it. I can walk through the pain. But I won’t bow.
You see, when we grieve, we are tempted, consciously or not, to bow to the bitterness, to bow to the confusion, to bow to hopelessness.
It seems like Babylon has all the power, and this song of sorrow is playing over us, and why not just bend the knee…
Face it, and don’t bow.
You might reasonably say to me…God saved those guys. That’s why we tell it in Sunday school, after all. The music came on, they stood firm. But when they were thrown into fire, they were not consumed. God saved them, protected them, kept them unharmed.
God did not do that for you.
I’ve been wondering the same thing. I’ve found myself asking God why he put this verse in my mind. Why is this story of rescue and deliverance one of the ones I can’t shake?
You didn’t come through, God. You didn’t save us. And I sensed, more than heard a response to my questions:
Not yet, he didn’t.
But this life isn’t over. God isn’t done. Death is not the final word.
I’m not just talking about being comforted by the idea of heaven, or that someday I’ll see my girls again. I do believe that. And it does comfort me.
It gives me hope.
But when the Bible says that we do not grieve as those who have no hope, does that just limit it to ‘we’ll see them again someday’? Tough it out for now, no matter how much it aches, and your only comfort is a far away someday?
I don’t think so. I think that Jesus offers comfort here and now, hope here and now, and joy here and now.
That, by the way, is what the gospel is. It is so far from just getting to heaven in the end. It isn’t ‘forget this world because it’ll all end someday and thank goodness I’ve got the ticket outta here.’ It’s about this world here being restored to all its goodness in relationships, in creation, within ourselves, and yes, with God.