“…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need…” Philippians 4:11-12
“I have learned…to be content,” Paul writes. But, have I learned? Have I learned to be content in any situation, any circumstance? We will certainly see about that. For sure. Further, will I do all things—even grieve, mourn, and trust—through him who empowers me? Again, there is no question whether we will see or not for such a trial demands a response.
Do I really know how to be brought low or abound? Do I really know the secret to face plenty and hunger or abundance and need? I had no choice when this tragedy descended upon me. I began to face a test like never before at any time in my life. I realized I was being carried away on a journey that would take me deeper. I was being swept away. Into deep waters.
My unwanted journey would have an intended consequence. God intended to take me deeper than I’d ever been before in my faith. I began to experience truth in deeper and more vibrant ways than ever before. These experiences were occasioned by pain, loss, shock, numbness, and grief but were met by the reverberation of God’s resounding response. Yes, I have been carried away into an intense schoolhouse—my eyes and ears have been opened.
“I shall look at the world through tears. Perhaps I shall see things that dry-eyed I could not see.” Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son
Pain—and these other sensations and experiences—gave way to new insights. For example, different aspects of the same biblical passages came alive. Sure, I was familiar with a given passage and understood it before. But now, with a layer of life scraped off, I see deeper beneath the surface. Same passage, deeper insight.
Also, songs came alive for me. It wasn’t like I hadn’t heard a specific hymn or song before. It was simply that I was hearing or seeing it from the perspective of grief and pain—with some new clarity provided. Truths I had sung for decades made sense in ways never quite understood before loss. I don’t claim to have any special insight, but I know this one thing. The circumstances in my life have opened an opportunity to go deeper than at any other time. God has accompanied me on an unwanted journey, and he has taken me to new depths.
Further, experiences in prayer took on a new intimacy. Interestingly, prayer centered around my own painful experience of loss broadened spontaneously to selfless prayer for others who were suffering. Even more, I have been riveted to a new and deeper intercession for Christ’s church and the nations like never before in my life.
If you’re facing loss, you will be taken to depths with God never imagined. Simultaneously and strangely, it can be both painful and glorious. However, you must position yourself as the student to learn contentment from him. And he will meet you in the depths and take you deeper with him.
“Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?” Job 11:7
I hold on to the hope of heaven and how faithful God is to me in all things. I felt like death had stolen my song and it took me some while to realize this. I am reminded of the scripture “He will destroy death forever.” Isaiah 25:8. Moment by Moment I’m kept in His love, Moment by Moment I’ve life from above………….Moment by Moment I’m under His care. God bless you.
Thanks, Annette. Yes, moment-by-moment trust is an important new discipline to establish. Amen!
Thank you for giving us a peek into this most difficult of journeys… praying for you…
Thank you for a glimpse into this most painful part of your journey.. very thought provoking.. Karen
You’re welcome, Karen. Thank you for joining.
Having lost my husband several years ago, I can so relate to your description of this spiritual journey being simultaneously painful and glorious. I wish I could say it gets easier as the years go by, but that has not been my experience. Your blogs are very meaningful to me. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Jo-Anne. I hope you’ll continue to join me on this journey. More pain and glory to follow…
“”Also, songs came alive for me. It wasn’t like I hadn’t heard a specific hymn or song before. It was simply that I was hearing or seeing it from the perspective of grief and pain—with some new clarity provided. Truths I had sung for decades made sense in ways never quite understood before loss.” I was very aware of this when lost my dad some years ago, but it became more poignant when, within a space of two years, lost my husband then my Mom.
With that ‘clarity’ also came beautiful reassurance too,which is an ongoing audio blessing.
Thank you for your open heart and sharing DRay. May God continue to bless and be your portion as you walk this road.
I am so sorry for your repeated losses. I know each is marked by diverse dynamics. Each is real and separate. May the Scriptures, songs, and prayer come alive for you continuously.
Thanks for sharing! Your blogs are intense, amazing,encouraging and ones I can really relate to in the loss of my husband through divorce and son Who died at the age of 37. The Bible, songs, and prayer have most definitely taken on a deeper meaning in my life also! I laid my burden of loss at the feet of Jesus many years ago and he gave me the peace that passes all understanding! My life took on a whole new meaning and purpose at that point! My current husband whom God placed in my life has brought me s much joy and contentment! Against n thanks and may God continue to bless you and use you through your grief and pain!
Your mention of divorce reminds me that one lesson I’ve learned is that lessons in loss are similar regardless of the type of loss. Loss of a job, illness, divorce, death, etc all have similarities. Yes, they are different, but they are similar. I am also very sorry for your loss of your son. Thanks for joining me on this journey.
Hey D. Ray. I too have experienced the change you describe in your prayer life…”Further, experiences in prayer took on a new intimacy. Interestingly, prayer centered around my own painful experience of loss broadened spontaneously to selfless prayer for others who were suffering. Even more, I have been riveted to a new and deeper intercession for Christ’s church and the nations like never before in my life.” I haven’t verbalized it, but as I read your comment I realized my prayers, which on many days begin focused on my loneliness and pain of loosing Becki, follow that same transition. His Spirit in me must get full credit for such a marvelous transition.
Thanks again for sharing your journey.
Amen, Slater. So good to hear from you. I’d love to connect face-to-face sometime when I’m in Atlanta area. What an encouragement that would be to me.
I share in your moments of loss
So uplifting scriptures
May the lord make you see happiness even in grief
I absolutely do have joy and happiness even in the midst of grief. One lesson I’ve learned is we must face the loss and not redefine it as happy. I can still find joy in sadness. Hope is present even in mourning.
Thanks for sharing. The scriptures are inspiring.
May the Lord show you happiness even amidst grief
Hope is all I had when I buried my two children. I was empty but that void was filled by God and years later, he has manifestated in my life. I thank you for sharing your journey, we remain strong in Christ. Zizi
Zizi, I am sorry for your loss, and I am challenged by your strength. Hope and remain strong in Christ.