Friday, July 19, 2013
Jerry Sitser is a professor of theology who, a number of years ago, was involved in a car crash in which his mother, his wife and one of his daughters were all killed. Sittser has written about his grief journey on a number of occasions, including in his most recent book, “A Grace Revealed.” In it, he reflects on the absence of his daughter and its impact on him and his family.
He writes, “Her presence would affect the entire dynamic of the home, no doubt for the good. Then again, her absence has done that too. It could have turned out tragically, and I could be writing words of lament right now instead of words of gratitude. But it did not turn out tragically, not in the long run anyway, though event itself was, and still is, tragic. We feel sorrow, to be sure; but it is a sweet sorrow. We are aware of the loss but grateful for the outcome. It is a tension we have learned to embrace.” Sittser, A Grace Revealed, 240-241.
Next week, our family will honor Micah on the four year anniversary of his death. Like Sittser, I have seen numerous blessings arise from Micah’s absence. To be sure, we’d take him back in a heartbeat. I would not go so far as to say that I am “grateful for the outcome,” as Sittser writes. I am, however, grateful for how the depths of great grief in my life have removed some of the deeply-rooted self-dependence in my life and required greater dependence on God. This, in turn, has led me to consider how other, smaller and seemingly less significant trials might be part of God’s plan for creating greater dependence upon God, in my life and my family’s life. If Joseph told his brothers, “What you intended for evil, God intended for good,” can we not trust that all of our trials are similarly for our own good? I hope that you, too, will consider the power of God to use trials to accomplish His purposes in your life.