I spoke to our university students in chapel last Wednesday. This is part 3 of the message I wrote for them. Read part 1 and part 2 … All other writing on losing the girls can be seen by clicking the tag ‘grief,’ above.
Ten weeks ago my daughters died. And I could hear the music enticing me to bow. Give up. Stay angry. Let your pain close you off to other people. No one knows your hurt. They don’t understand. Shut them out. Shut it all out. Just bend the knee.
I’m choosing to stand. And I invite you to do the same, whatever your pain may be.
I believe our God is good and that this world he made is lovely. I believe God is the God of play–of music, dancing, running, laughing. I believe God shows up Disneyland and a Dodgers game just as much as she shows up in church. All the delights of this life—friends and family, time in creation, bacon—they are God’s; a reflection of his goodness.
I’m serious. In the last two months, I’ve gone to Disneyland. It was the right thing for me to do. Because it’s just play, and we need that, even during grief.
And we’re in a bacon of the month club. It’s heaven. Pork heaven. And seriously, have you ever thought about God’s goodness demonstrated in our taste buds? He could have made us to subsist on tasteless nothings, calories without flavor.
I know God is good because there is bacon. And cream cheese frosting. And Diet Coke.
I don’t know what this looks like for you. But when you find those things, and they make you so happy, don’t feel guilty. They are gifts from a good God who delights in you.
People who know Jesus well will attest to the joy of life with him. They are not saying that things have not been hard. On the contrary, they know what it means to go through hard things with hope, and so they can attest to life on the other side. When I am in despair, I look to them, and trust that joy will come again for me too
Which leads to one note for those of you who are in a season that is full of fun and life. Lean into it. Give yourself over to how wonderful things are. Sometimes, when something really awful happens, those of us who are less affected feel guilty if we’re enjoying ourselves. We feel like we’re betraying the pain of our friends.
But those of us in pain need to see your joy. You remind us what can be again. You help us see hope in plain ol’ ordinary ways.
There is joy in this life.
And it’s not to minimize or downplay the pain. It’s also not escapist. Not at all. It’s just that life this side of heaven will always be about the ashes with the beauty, the bitter with the sweet and the broken with the whole.
Our God can save us. But even if he does not…
it does not mean that he will not.
It’s just not yet.
Because heaven is coming, yes, but doubley so because heaven is breaking through. Here. Right now.