It’s been a one-two punch week.
I reconnected with an old friend after 25 years of silence. We talked on the phone this week. At one time we were very close, a mutual love of the Lord Jesus bonding us together. Since then she has rejected what we once shared and switched to a different, wider path, enlightened thought and new allegiances.
The next day brought news that our friend’s son had taken his life. There are no words.
These are times of trouble; it’s time to read Ecclesiastes.
Sorrow can be such a complicated thing. It easily gets muddied with regrets, splattered with the wrong actions of the deceased, splotched with omissions, and speckled with questions. More than one friend has found evidence of gross immorality on his father’s computer after his death.
One of the gifts we can give to those we leave behind is the gift of clean grief. The difference between clean and mucked-up grief is the difference between the cut of a surgeon’s sterilized knife and the puncture of a rusty nail. Both are incredibly painful, both require a time of healing, and both leave scars; but the puncture requires much cleansing in order to heal.
What brings clean grief? Clean living – living by the law of God. Regular confession, repentance, courage to confront the secret sins, honest evaluation, transparent friendships, the fear of God, trusting in Christ alone to cleanse.
What about when things go south? When there is a murky mess left? The first response should be, “there, but for the grace of God, go I”. Look for instruction, what can I learn from this? Be silent. Finally, there is no viable option but to trust our Creator and leave it in His hands. Read Ecclesiastes.
fear God and keep His commandments,
because this applies to every person.
Because God will bring every act to judgment,
everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to thy cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress,
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the Fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.