Monday, December 5, 2011

Dec 5 - Psalm 30:11

Recently a parent wrote, asking about how to speak to their children about grandma's illness and impending death. Over the next several days, I'm letting you "listen in" to my pastoral advice. So far we have covered the following pieces of advice: 1. Be Honest and Upfront,  2. Focus Forward,  3. Grieve Honestly, 4. Grieve with Bold Determination, 5. Understand Life, 6. Quit Denying, 7. Praying Works
[Lord,] you have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy
Psalm 30:11
There's one more way to reassure a grieving person that prayer works.
Remind them that part of their prayer at the death of a loved one is: "Lord, help my own pain go away."
God says, "I will. But remember, sometimes, 'joy again' is spelled "T-I-M-E.'"
A few years ago, I went to my aunt's funeral. The weather seemed to cooperate with the forces of death -- it was dark and dreary. As we laid my aunt to rest and as tears filled everyone's eyes, I looked at the grave beside my aunt's. It was my grandfathers grave.
My grandfather had died about six years before my aunt. And I can remember standing in that same graveyard on another dark and dreary day. Do you know what we were thinking then? "Will life ever be good again?"
As the family gathered around my aunt's tomb, I watched my littlest cousins -- 2-, 3-, and 4-years-old.
To them, the graveyard wasn't a place of death and destruction; it was a playground. They played hide and seek behind headstones and climbed over tombs -- including my grandfathers.
Six years earlier, we wondered if we'd ever see joy again. Six years later, his great-grandchildren were laughing and giggling and climbing innocently over his grave. They weren't even alive when my grandfather died, but here they were, a living, breathing, giggling reminder that there will be joy again.
When we pray, "Lord, help my pain go away," we're hoping "immediately." Nevertheless, prayer works, sometimes God just says that "joy again" needs to be spelled "T-I-M-E."
In Christ's Love,
an impatient guy who tends to spell
"what I want" as "R-I-G-H-T  N-O-W"

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