In Time, You See Blessings
by Rebecca Rene Jones
We are so impatient with grief. We whisper, we bake casseroles, we send carnations and lilies. We fumble with broken people, heroically hunting for that perfect Hallmark card. Praying hard for the right words to say.
As if we can fix it.
I won’t lie: I wanted a fix, too. I was 18 when Dad died, just days into my college career. My whole life stretched before me un-trodden, like a field of fresh-fallen snow, and oh, how I ached to run out onto it. How I wanted my wounds to stop bleeding, stop itching, stop hurting so badly, so I could move forward with that freshman year.
How I begrudged my heavy heart.
And then I remembered: God cried.
It seems so simple, but I missed it for so long. How Jesus wept. We don’t quite know what to do with a God who quits walking and falls to his knees, do we? One who leans into the pain? Who lets his heart flow freely? Why would a Savior pause to mourn a friend he is minutes from resurrecting?
Those tears dried down into dirt almost two thousand years ago, but they’re stirring me still. They ask me, over and over, if I have not wholly misunderstood faith, and grief, and hope…and how they all fit together. They remind me how much I’m still learning about sovereignty; about the importance of seasons; about the uncomfortable truth that God’s good plans don’t always feel good in the moment.
When you see those salty tears—really see them, the ones that fell graveside in Bethany—you get a small taste of how much our hurts matter. You see that they might deserve a little more dignity, a little more time and space and attention. You begin to feel how viscerally our sufferings actually pain Christ, the man of sorrows, one acquainted with deepest grief, and maybe it’s here—alone in your own kicked-in heart—that you first feel it: the pang. The tiniest twinge of the weight of this cross on his back, and a flickering glimpse of the big love that drove him to shoulder it.
This is what I was trying so hard to explain to a woman after church this week. Dad has been gone 14 years, which seems impossible. And yet, something has changed, and I was trying to say it: How Jesus is so different to me now. How he’s even more real, how many more secrets he and I share. How my faith has somehow migrated, moved just a few inches south—from that tidy place in my head to the messy seat of my heart.
Make no mistake, it has taken God and me many lonely walks and balled-fist prayers to get here. But oh, it’s a good place to be. And it’s a miracle, really, when you look back and see how the very storm that should have shipwrecked your faith has become the biggest anchor for it.
Rebecca Rene Jones believes in the biggest God, the blackest coffee, and that earth is just an opening act. A 2005 graduate of Grove City College, PA, she spent nearly a decade as a health care publicist, writer and editor before shifting gears to freelance from home. She lives in Rochester, NY, with her husband and son. You can find her at www.rebeccarenejones.com.
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