I’m back in the state where I lost my Dad. My family and I had to drive passed where my Dad’s accident was as we evacuated our home. We had time to board up our house, but we left everything behind except a few belongings. We have no idea what hurricane Irma will do.
But, to be honest, I feel like I’ve already been hit by a category 5 storm. I feel like my family has been hit by a category 5 storm.
I see that storm and I cry because that “catastrophic damage” is how my heart feels. Our family lost our rock, our leader, our protector and provider. Yes, God is all those things, but my Dad was our human representations of those things.
I know already that this storm will change everyone’s life in South Florida. For some it may be a few weeks for other it could be forever, but it will not be the same.
The same is true for my family. Our lives will never be the same.
I used to think, wow we are really fortunate, nothing really bad has happened to our family. It was always someone else. All that changed on July 16th when my Dad loses control of his car and then passed on July 23rd.
When I hear of what Harvey and Irma have taken and destroyed, I think of the pain of losing my Dad. But these hurricanes remind me that’s a “fatality” is not just any fatality any more. That fatality is someone’s family member. Their tears are my tears. That new life change is my new life change. It’s not just “those people” anymore, it’s me.
What I mean to express is that I feel their pain. I hurt for them. Those “Islands in the Caribbean” are my island. My heart is so heavy on so many levels. I feel crushed beneath the weight of grief. I am hurting for those who are hurting and I am hurting myself.
Maybe that’s what is supposed to happen in life. I keep having to remind myself of what Jesus went through. I once heard a man say something a long the lines of “Had God not sent His son to suffer, I don’t know that I could ever resonate with God the Father”
This life will bring troubles. It will break your heart time and time again. It will crush you. It will make you want to give up. It will shake you. It will come with gusts that rip away precious things and precious people from your life.
Yet, God is not a cookie cutter God. In a world of billions with different languages, different personalities, different gifting, God knows each one of us. He knows you. He knows me. He knows our pain. He doesn’t have an automated reply. He relates with pain, loss, devastation and grief. He’s been through it. He doesn’t give you cookie cutter responses like: “Count it all joy”, or “All things work together for good”. I know those words are inspired by God, and I do believe we hold on to that, but in the midst of the storm, I believe that often God sits with us in silence, until we are ready to wrestle through our questions, hurts and doubts.
There are times life leaves us speechless. Staring at the storms approaching leaves one mesmerized and frightened- in silence. In the same way, staring at my Dad in a coma, whose body was so healthy and strong, left me with no words- only tears.
But in the speechless times of life, I believe God is sitting right beside us. People who know pain, know that sometimes all a hurting person needs is to know that someone is with us.
I had an amazing roommate for a period of time. When we were both home, it wouldn’t be uncommon to sit in the same room in silence. We didn’t need to talk, but we wanted each other’s company. It was comforting. When my Dad was in the hospital a family friend came and sat with us. He didn’t say much but he was there. It brought comfort. In the same way, I imagine God sitting beside me and those hurting.
To be honest, most of the time, I don’t know how to pray or what to say.
I recently came across Job 2:13, “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was”
So although I don’t understand so much of what is happening, I was reminded of Isaiah 53 (NLT). Which helps me remember that although my vision feels blurred by grief (Ps 6:7), Jesus knows. Jesus understands. He lived it. He suffered through life, and He is with me. And He is with each person who is hurting.
“Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.
3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
Maybe we are made for suffering because suffering brings compassion, when surrender it to God.
Time and time again it says Jesus was moved to compassion. And in Psalm 46:10 It says, “Be still and know that I am God” it doesn’t say be still and talk. It just says be still… Maybe suffering is the tool God allows to help us be still…
***These are just some of my thoughts. Writing helps me process… Thank you for letting me have an outlet to process…
Love your reflections, Christi. Aside from being an outlet for you, I’m being nudged to pick up my pen and resume my blog.
Do it 🙂
I join you in silence.