by Anne Peterson
Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.
I still remember Nathan’s call, “Mom, I have some sad news for you.”
I just wanted him to stop talking. Then I wouldn’t have to face what he was about to say. But he didn’t stop.
Our 14 month old granddaughter had died. We knew the day would come, since she had a genetic disorder, Trisomy 18. But we still prayed, hoping she would live. She wasn’t even supposed to make it to her birth. But God gave us 14 months with her. And the longer Livie defied what doctors said, the more my hope grew.
If one of her siblings got sick, we’d hold our breath. Ever since I learned about Trisomy 18, I walked in the valley of the shadow of death. A place I had walked before. Writers write about what they know. I know grief and loss. But I’m so glad I don’t go through those times alone.
At 16, I lost my mother, eight years later, I lost my dad. Six years later, my sister died, a victim of domestic violence. For each loss, God was there. I felt comforted finding Psalm 27:10, “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”
God was there when I had two miscarriages, when I lost one brother to cancer and when I lost another brother to a massive heart attack. Psalm 34:18 tells us He is close to the brokenhearted. Our loving Father collects our tears in a bottle, it says in Psalm 56:8.
We live in a fallen world. People get sick. Loved ones die. But the truth is, we are not alone.
What does it look like to lean on God? It means I choose to hold onto the truths of God’s character when I’m tempted to be overwhelmed. Will I still hurt? Yes. Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha when Lazarus died. And though he knew he would be raising Lazarus from the dead, he had compassion on his friends. John 11:35 tells us Jesus wept.
Whenever we face trials, Satan, the enemy of our soul, whispers lies about God.
If God loved you, he wouldn’t have taken your loved one.
God doesn’t care about you.
God isn’t with you, you’re alone.
We’ll be tempted to believe Satan’s lies when we are grieving. The Holy Spirit reminds us of those truths. Often a verse will come to mind just when needed. Or maybe part of a hymn we learned years ago. I love the hymn, I Am His and He is Mine, by George W. Robinson. God’s Holy Spirit is such a comfort to us.
This past year has been one of the hardest many of us have gone through. And yet, God’s Word remains true. No matter what we face, 2 Corinthians 3:5 reminds us God is our sufficiency. He is all we need. So when you start to feel your heart racing, or you wonder how you’re going to get through the circumstances you are facing, remember God is immutable. He doesn’t change. We can trust him.
When I hurt, I see God the clearest. He draws close to us. Just like when we draw our little ones on our lap when they hurt.
God knew the exact moment Livie would join him in eternity. One day, just weeks prior to Livie’s death, my daughter in law Heather called me to come over and sit with Livie so they could sleep. Livie was a bit of a night owl. I was thrilled. I cradled her in my arms, softly sang to her and talked to God.
At Livie’s funeral, I thanked Heather again for calling me that day. She responded, “It was crystal clear I was supposed to call you.”
No matter what we’re going through, God is in the trial with us. And even when we can’t be with our loved ones when they die, we can be assured just as God was with them as they took their first breath, He will be with them as they breathe their last. That’s the kind of God we have. A God who feels with us.
I Also Feel Their Pain
God, how can you be loving and still allow such pain?
Everywhere my eyes can see, the suffering’s the same.
Do you have a purpose that I simply cannot see?
How can you allow my pain and still be loving me?
And then my Father looks at me
and answers very lovingly,
I didn’t stop the hands
that drove the nails through my Son.
It isn’t that I didn’t see, I felt each single one.
When those you love are suffering,
I still remain the same.
For when my children hurt at all,
I also feel their pain.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and published author of 16 books including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. You can check out her website at www.annepeterson.com or connect with her on Facebook. Anne loves being Grandma to four children here and one in heaven.