Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Too Much Grief?
Do we grieving parents make too big of a deal out of the deaths of our own children? Does God think that we grieve too much? Does our grief suggest that we have made idols out of our children?
God has created us so that, rather than being satisfied with lesser pleasures, our hearts will not experience real satisfaction until we experience God Himself. The Psalmist proclaims, "My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you." Psalm 63:5. But while we treasure God as our ultimate prize, we can enjoy the gifts that he gives, so long as that they are enjoyed as gifts from God, and not in competiton with Him. In a recent sermon, Bethlehem Seminary Professor Joe Rigney pointed out that we need not experience any "false guilt" for enjoying the gifts that God gives. Rigney cited Genesis 2:18, where God told Adam that he was going to make a helpmate for him, "because it is not good that the man should be alone." Even though God is Himself our ultimate satisfaction, God has deemed it good and right for us to enjoy the gifts he gives us here on earth, including marriage, children, family, friends, food, drink, sports, and other earthly endeavors. In enjoying any gift as a gift from God, we do not take away from our enjoyment and worship of God as our perfectly benevelent and omnipotent gift-giver; rather, such an attitude adds to our praise of God to the extent we recognize God's goodness in giving and our unworthiness in receiving.
C.S. Lewis once said, "Our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak." As grieving parents, if we try to minimize the paid of our own grief, we would have to ignore the very God-ordained affections built into our emotional and spiritual beings for our own children. More than that, we would cut off opportunities for the grace of God to fill the wounds of our life is we attempted to artificially limit the flow of grief coming from our own hearts. If we hold on to Christ, and to his promises, we need try to apologize or minimize our pain. There is no level of depth in grief that God's grace cannot rescue us from. The deeper the grief, the further down, and deeper in, God's love goes to reach us.
It has now been 3 years and 2 months since we lost Micah, and our grief extends to so many areas of our life. But God, who ordained for Micah's little life in the first place, doesn't want us to apologize or feel bad about our grief. Rather, he wants to salve the pain of grief in and through the various forms of grace he provides, so that we can stand amazed at the working of God, both in how He gave us our beautiful, precious oldest son, and in how He has comforted us since taking him away.