All of my life I have heard the expression, "a daily walk with Christ." Little did I realize what a daily walk with Christ actually meant. It was not until the death of my dear husband, Daniel, that I was to learn fully what a daily walk it would require. Since the moment of his death, I have literally had to walk, not simply daily, but hour to hour and in many cases, minute by minute. Grief is a stark reminder that we need more than an occasional talk with our heavenly Father to sustain us through this valley of the shadow of our loved one's death. Many times, the physical body wearies of the constant emotional stress that grief places upon it. It is specifically at such points that I find myself crying out, "Help me, Lord. I need to feel your presence NOW!" The Psalmist, David, is very characteristic of this emotional journey. Many times, he begins his writings with, "How long wilt thou forget me, 0 Lord?" (Psalms 13:1) or "Hear my cry, 0 God..." (Psalms 61:1) But, then many times by the end of the chapter, he is once again reaffirming his praise, "I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me." (Psalms 13:6)
We are also told not to question the Lord. He is the Almighty, Creator of Universe, and the great I AM. Many times during this emotional journey of grief, however, we cannot refrain from such questions, no matter how great our faith, or close our walk. We are after all made in the fashion of His creation with all the weaknesses and sinful tendencies we must constantly strive to overcome. But we cannot even begin to hope to make progress in this direction without the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and that, my friend, is the need for the daily walk. Without the constant crying out and reaching upward, we become lost in this spiral of emotional distress. All too often the numbness of our grief turns into bitterness and finally hardens our spirit. Our hearts become destitute and cold, allowing us to feel little if anything. What I'm trying to say very simply, it's worth the effort. While the journey may require constant climbing and digging your hands into the rough crevices of this mountain of grief, you are never ever alone in the journey. About the time I feel my grip weakening and my body totally exhausted from the effort, His calm reassuring voice beckons me, "Rest, my child, I know you're tired. I'll take it from here for awhile." It's times like these, I literally feel myself climbing up into the arms of the Master, laying my head upon His shoulder, and letting Him take total control of the journey.
Now, to many this seems utterly impossible. I know. I've been there, too. Even as a Christian, when I heard others witnessing about how He always provided, how He was always present, and how they listened to His voice, I, also, questioned how this could be done. It can, my friend, but quite sadly, it usually isn't experienced until a tragedy, a life-threatening illness, or some other catastrophic event occurs. After all, even His children during times of wealth and great sustenance become high-minded without even realizing they're becoming this way. I once heard it said that God would rather have his children experience an occasional limp than to always have them in a perpetual strut. For this reason, many times it takes the thorns of life for Him to make His point, and He loves us too much to quickly pluck them out! The apostle Paul is a great example of this point. He begged God to remove the thorn in his side. "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me." (II Cor. 12:8) Although the Lord did not remove Paul's infirmity, He did promise to give him grace sufficient enough to bear it. "...My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (II Cor. 12:9) In the tenth verse of this same chapter, Paul goes on to tell us, "...I take pleasure in my infirmities in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I'm weak then I am strong." (II Cor. 12:10) Later on, we hear Paul reaffirm that in whatever state he was in, "...therein I'm most content." Wow, contentment even in the midst of tribulation. What a Promise!
I didn't ask for this thorn of grief, but, because of it, I have been able to journey with the Master in a way I've never done before. I've been to the mountaintop, even in this valley of grief, and I've seen the fulfillment of his promises and felt the warmth of His loving mercy. God does not promise Christians an easy life or an uncomplicated journey, but He does assure us of a "Master Navigator" and a "safe harbor" at the end of our voyage. Praise His holy name!
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