In grief, nothing seems to be what it used to be; even something as simple as sitting feels different.
One day, I walked down the staircase in my home to sit in the corner of the basement where I could be physically lowest and most removed from the world that had seemed to go on without me. As I sat, my body had the odd sensation of continually traveling lower. Sitting was more like sinking. I felt that I was being lowered, though I was not moving. As this was happening, I could also feel my heart pounding even though I was attempting to rest. Every strong pulse sent me a perceived level lower into the ground, the subbasement, the earth.
The hole in the earth that had been dug to hold my baby daughter’s dear earthly frame had been deep—farther into the ground than I had expected prior to her burial. Not many days after she was put into the earth, while sitting in my basement, my body felt like joining her.
Becoming a mother made me yearn to be able to go through her experiences with her in order to “be there” for her. But in this case, I could not. My body reminded me of the desire at every possible opportunity. So, sitting was not normal. My inner grief was physically felt.
When I feel I am sinking, I get to choose the figurative chair upon which I sit. And if I choose my chair wisely in grief, I can choose a chair of true rest. I can collapse into a chair that absorbs the downward pulses. I can choose a chair that steadies me, one that will never let me finally sink. There is only one foundation that will not plummet—One unsinkable rest for my soul.
There is only one God, the One whose nature, attributes, and character are revealed in the Bible.
There is only one God who is capable of rushing His people into His presence at death. There is only one God who created people out of the overflow of His own perfect joy and for His own pleasure. There is only one God to whom all people belong, who has full rights to us in every way. He does not exist in our imaginations. We who believe know this. Yet, at least for my heart, becoming sidetracked is easy. He is real quite apart from you and me. He is not the God of my making. And I am not at the “center of His universe.” He created me to know Him as the center of my life. All creation exists to glorify Him. All people depend upon Him; thankfully, He does not depend upon us. He is who He is, unchanging from eternity past to eternity future. There is but one existing God who is all-controlling, all-knowing, all-powerful, infinite, good, perfect, living, true, and more.
This incredible God is the God of my rest. He made me to intrinsically benefit from His nature and character, though He did not owe this to mankind. He graciously is the giver of peace and rest.
First, I feel at rest this instant to remember that I am not in control.
I do not need to “hold it all together.” I do not need to map out this journey of grief that still is ahead of me. I do not need to be in control because He is in control. And He is in control not because I want Him to be or because I asked Him to be or because I decided He was. He is. He is. He undergirds my very existence and He substantiates my being during every minute of life. When I declare Him sovereign in my life, it is a statement of submission to the reality that already exists, not a statement of permission that I could give to Him. Exhale. He is in control. Rest.
Second, I feel rest this very minute to be reminded that I do not give my child’s life her meaning.
I do not need to search for meaning within myself or within the world to feel purpose for my daughter’s life. Further, I do not need to be the one to give meaning to my child’s life who has gone ahead of me. I do not need to attempt supplying or creating meaning because God already has. All things are for Him; all people—made in His image—exist for His glory. My daughter and I are alive for the purpose of His worship and joy. This magnificent God of all beautiful perfection—I get to exist for Him and my child gets to exist for Him. Exhale. He is the meaning of my life and my child’s life. This puts into context my remembrance of my daughter. What is done in her memory—this is all a reflection and celebration of the joyful meaning that my child already deeply and completely has in God. Rest.
Third, I feel rest this very minute to be reminded that though sorrow may have clouded my view of God, He has not removed His mercy from me. My thoughts could never diminished who He is and who He desires to be to His people. For I have had difficulty remembering His goodness. Yet, for how my view of God has been limited in grief, He gives me His great mercy through Christ—dealing wonderfully with me. Though it has been difficult to remember or love His goodness, I also know and trust He is not any less good today than He was ten years ago or will be ten years from now.
Will you see the rest this moment in knowing that He is in control, that He is the meaning of your child's life, and that He is unchanging? Perhaps you feel like you are also sinking. Rest on solid Him! He is our Father who actively cares for us, and supports our souls in suffering.