Monday, July 15, 2013

When Grief Brings Silence

There comes a point in extreme crisis when the silence becomes deafening.  Clayton was still in the NICU when that moment came for me.  I sat in the ACH cafeteria watching the interstate traffic, and I realized that I had absolutely nothing to say to my God.  And the silence reverberating back was just as poignant.  It was like this big black hole between the two of us, and I couldn't step forward for fear of falling into it.  It was a scary realization.   I didn't know how to deal with my anger and grief over Shawn's death.  I didn't know how to pray for Clayton.  I was literally stuck in this chasm of wanting to pray, but not having anything to say to the Father.  Day after day, I repeated over and over, "Lord, you know my heart."  I depended on others to intercede more specifically on our behalf.  I simply didn't have the words to pray.

 ". . . for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance."  (Philippians 1:19)

What of this "black hole?"  Is it a good thing to have such a silence between us and God?  After years of reflection, I think it was indeed a necessary part of my grieving.  I heard a song just this last week with the lyric, "God is big enough for the whys."  And you know what?  He's big enough for the silence as well!  He is the Almighty; but he is also Abba . . . Father.   This is the same Father who watched as His newly created man chose disobedience.  The Father who watched time and again as His people chose to depart from Him.  The Father who watched His Son die horrifically on a cross. . .

He is truly "acquainted with grief!"  (Isaiah 53:3)

If anyone is familiar with A Change in Plans, it is our Father in Heaven, whose entire plan for this world was wrecked by sin.  And as He watches us live out life after The Fall, I can't help but think He grieves anew each time one of His children is hurting.  This wasn't His plan--wasn't His design!  The resulting hurts of this world must grieve His heart!  "The Lord said, 'I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt, I have heard them crying out . . . and I am concerned about their suffering.'" (Exodus 3:7)  Moreover, the God-Man Himself was grieved when His friend Lazarus died:  "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled . . . Jesus wept . . ." (John 11:33-35)

I think it is because of this "acquaintance with grief" that the Father knew we would require a supernatural helper to speak on our behalf.   When we have no words for prayer, when we know not how to utter our needs, "the [Holy] Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."  (Romans 8:26-27)  Because of this intercession, we can rest knowing the Father is still working for our good, even when we don't know how to express our need.  

For me, the silence was a time of renewing.  It was as if the Lord was sitting across the room from me, quietly waiting for me to join Him at His table once again.  The important key was that I didn't choose to get up and walk away from Him for good.  After months of silence, I began to slowly utter prayers of thanksgiving, and even prayers on behalf of others.  It was those small basic prayers that eventually led me back to a true conversation with God, a conversation that was deeper than ever before.  And almost ten years later, I have come full circle as I intercede in prayer for the needs of others.

These full circles?  That's the way the Lord works in our lives.  Nothing is without purpose.  Even a period of silence and heartache can yield a renewed hope and resolve.  A resolve to live for Him, and a resolve to bring others into His arms.  

1 comment:

Pop said...

I never cease to be amazed at the
spiritual maturity level of my
daughter.. I've ALWAYS been proud
of her but with each day that I
grow older, my pride in her increases. Brian, Clayton & Jackson
are three lucky guys to live with
her daily.