I am reading, “A Path Through Suffering,” by Elisabeth Elliot. It has been a slow go, as it is packed with so much. Today I was reading… and this grabbed my heart… “The world must be shown, shown the very guts of faith.” Wow, what does that look like? And I read more…. she referred to 2 Corinthians 13:4, which says… “for He was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God.” “A staggering promise, realized only in the cross. We in our miseries may share His weakness, and therefore live with Him in the service of others.” Elizabeth’s statement is pressing in. And I am beginning the slow process toward seeing the gift of grief.
In the words of Ugo Bassi… “measure thy life by loss not gain… for love’s strength standeth, in love’s sacrifice, and he that suffereth most hath most to give.” Well I have been pondering this… questioning God, not out of disrespect, but a desire to know more deeply and please Him.
All throughout scripture, there are examples of this being truth… heroes and heroines, saints and sinners redeemed, prove that in, what seems senseless suffering… there is much to give. (Proverbs 11:25) “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” So in my wonderment and my wanderings, I am asking God if it is possible for me to be used, do I have “much to give?”
It seems the more I search the more is peeled back from my blindness. Grief has been, in my eyes, a set back, a preventer of joy, a darkness and I thought I was lost. Blinded by this perception of where I was, and am at, as a new widow I failed to see purpose, meaning, grace and who I really am. (Luke 9:24) “If a man will let himself be lost for my sake, that man is safe.” So, is grief a gift? Can I truly be found with purpose in this broken state? I question, seek, wander and wait for answers. This is such a foreign thought process. The idea of being useful in brokenness, wanted in my suffering and able to serve in my weariness. What awe stands before me today. Lilias Trotter said this…”Let us give ourselves away for this world… to bear His name with all that is wrapped up in it of fragrance and healing and power, to enter His life and share His eternal purpose, is a calling for which it is well worth counting all things but loss.” Can I count my loss; love of my life, a best friend, husband, protector and father to our four girls; worth it? Ouch, that stings a lot.
So, I must look behind me. Who was I then, am I becoming something new? Jesus light, does it burn brighter then it did before? “This vessel is in hundreds of pieces on the floor,” I argue…” what purpose to I have in your world in that state? ” And He answers, “you have much to give.” My first inclination is to gather all my pieces and run. What kind of insanity is this? I wonder. I argue that I still cry myself to sleep, still have a hard time getting out of bed, or driving any distances alone, I am still missing so much. Doesn’t God want a whole person, not one with half a heart, half a brain and half a will? And He still says, “come, I have given you the gift of grief.” I have never loved this gift, He knows that, but reminds me of His goodness (Christ in me and the hope of glory.) He reminds me that this is all I need, this is what I have to give, no matter the pain, brokenness and loss. He weeps with me, and He asks me, again, to give.
This has been one of the most profound times with God. His goodness will use the pain of the gift of grief, and give me purpose. Thankful for God’s love and patience, as I am allowing myself to be led. And, it is blindly, on faith and trust that I continue… as I have nothing on my own. He is revealing the “guts of faith” and the gift, grief has allowed me to open.