In the past week, Skyline Vineyard Church lost a member. He was a loving son, friend, and brother to us all and we are devastated at his passing. This blog is a prayer trying to make sense of it all.
This is so hard.
I hurt. My friends hurt. We've lost a friend. A brother in our God-family. A talented, smart, hugging-not-handshaking young man full of joy and potential. A man wondrously made and being remade in your image. Now he's gone.
Gone, as in, not with us. He's with you now –rejoicing and relishing being with You.
But we are still here. And it hurts.
God, I can't tell if I want to run to You, hide from You or shout angrily at You. Somehow, I do all three many times a day. Ironically, I depend on you so much, that I have to rely on you even to give me the courage to be honest about my anger.
Usually I am asking You, “WHY?! Why all the suffering?” Not today God. Today suffering has shown up at my doorstep. It's close. It's personal. The question “why?” has been kicked to the back burner and replaced with, “Where God? Where are you?” I desperately want you to care for me now. Do you? Are you here?
The gospel of John tells of how you wept with Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died. Grieving with them. Hurting with them. You were definitely with them in the fullest sense –physically, emotionally, spiritually.
You aren't sitting by my side physically, but deep down I know you're here. Even when I try to run from You, you're right beside me. Weeping with me. Holding me. Grieving with me.
You agonize alongside me, wishing I didn't have to experience the consequences of a world left to its own devices instead of yours. Wishing I didn't have to experience the consequences of the freedom to live on our own terms.
In this moment, You don't smugly say, “I told you so.” Not at all. Instead, You weep with me. And You weep with those whose pain is bigger than mine. You sit and keep watch over us. “The LORD is close to the broken hearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18)
Dear Jesus, please bring healing. Help me to trust You and your timing. Give me strength to trust You and trust in your love. You promise, “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) Bring that promise to life in my heart Jesus.
Dear Jesus, please help me to weep with others who are in pain. To stand with them and grieve. Give me wisdom to know when to speak and when to allow my presence and silent grief to be enough. Give me courage to refrain from filling hurt-filled silences with empty platitudes. Give me courage to trust your presence to heal.
Dear Jesus, You are not the cause of our pain, but the cure.
Katharine is a member of Skyline Vineyard Church. When not wrangling kids or geeking out on math, she might be found spinning some discs (Ultimate Frisbee style), gardening playing in the dirt or hiding from the kids by secretly reading in the laundry room.