Monday, October 25, 2010

Grief has a Face; Faith has a Name

this past week, a woman in our church was suddenly and shockingly catapulted into the world of widowhood. after 50+ years of marriage her husband passed away quite unexpectedly at home Monday night, after a massive heart attack.

my friend has been surrounded and supported by her loving family and friends, especially during the viewing and funeral on Saturday morning.

on Sunday morning, my friend came to Sunday school as usual. and of course she stayed for church afterwards.

i can not even begin to fathom her deep feeling of loss and grief. just last Sunday, she and her husband were sitting side by side for Sunday school, and then church. just as they have nearly every week that we've been attending.

from where i was sitting near the back of the church on Sunday morning, i could see the head and shoulders of my friend. i would have understood if her head sagged in sorrow, and her shoulders shook with grief.

but that was not what i saw. what i observed was nothing less than profound. it is a lesson in real faith and trust in God.

my friend was singing. my friend was praising God. my friend was continuing to trust God in the midst of her deep sorrow and great loss.

and as i spoke to her after church, she mentioned Psalm 46, and what a comfort it is to her now.

God is our refuge and strength. An ever present help in times of trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains shall fall into the heart of the sea,
Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

my friend told me how thankful she was for the times that she had spent with her husband, and the comfort and joy those memories were bringing to her: an anniversary party celebrated with friends and family; a first birthday party celebration at the age of 70; a very recent trip out West.

but most amazingly, my friend told me of the peace and comfort that Psalm 46 has brought her, and continues to bring her as she begins to live without her husband by her side.

she spoke of how God has been her refuge this week. she told me of how God has been her strength, and how He has helped her in this troubling week.

i am moved at the depth of faith and trust that my friend showed in the midst of such a painful time.

these words that she said were told to me with peace in her eyes and conviction in her voice. they were not just mumbled words and phrases, said because she knows this is what is expected of her.

these were words coming from the depth of her soul and the trust in her heart:

"God is my refuge and strength. An ever present help in my time of trouble. "

i am humbled and blessed to see such faith in my friend Gladys.


Anonymous said...

I can not imagine going through a terrible loss without having Jesus to lean on. To quote a song I like, "Those without the Lord, they have no hope".
For those of us that understand that this world is but a temporary home can rejoice knowing that person is now in heaven.
I will be praying for your friend and her family.

Anonymous said...

That is beautifully expressed, Jenn. Thank you for putting it into words.


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