Dec 24, 2018
There is a silly picture in one of my photo albums of my parents and my husband. They are all laughing. My parents are sitting in a black Amish buggy they bought for their farm. My husband is holding the buggy shafts and pretending to pull them around.
As I smile down at the picture, an odd feeling like homesickness passes over me. All of them are with Jesus. They all “went ahead.” But this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be for my husband. He wasn’t old and full of years. We were supposed to go together. Like Kenny and Helen Felumlee who were in their nineties and died within hours of each other. Or like President Bush and Barbara, for Pete’s sake.
But here I am sitting in a chair with a photo book, the smile fading from my face.
These kinds of moments can happen in a room full of people who love me, at a party, in a store, at church, anywhere a memory or thought can remind me of the void my husband’s passing left.
I am like a puzzle with a missing piece. I can’t fill that spot with just anything…anyone. It is a distinct shape, a face, a voice, a smile, a laugh that is needed. But it is okay. I still function as me.
You probably have an empty space like this for some reason. It may not be a person. But it is a void. Maybe you feel like it is magnified amid all the holiday glitz and Hallmark card family warmth. The void shouts at you. I agree; it does.
There is a way not to surrender to the gloom the thought brings. Praise. Shift gears and praise.
For example, it is at these moments I thank my God for my life with my husband. Marrying him was a miracle really. An answer to a prayer I prayed when I was seventeen. Our life together was a series of small, quiet miracles that built a solid foundation on Jesus as the Lord of our lives. I praise God for giving me Himself, Jesus, and for making a way for reunion and lasting good.
You know what happens when I do this? I experience the joy of the Lord because He is with me in that moment. He inhabits (dwells in) the praise of His people. Praise shows our trust in Him and His goodness. He rewards it by stepping into the void at that time.
On the other hand, if you dwell on the loss, whatever it is, you give attention to satan and are unknowingly celebrating his work. I refuse to celebrate my enemy. And we must know our enemy. It is the only way to defeat him.
You and I can refuse to let loss define us. Instead we can allow Jesus to define us. He has won for us so much. What was meant for our defeat can become our greatest victory.
So, this holiday or any day, when feelings of grief start to rule, praise. Start speaking the positive memories as a prayer of thanks. In any bad situation there was some speck of good before satan perverted it, lied to you, stole from you. Even if all you have is the deliverance up and out of the situation, praise.
God never intended for you and me to experience loss or hurt, and it is only through Him we rise.
At Christmas time we celebrate peace. But true Christian peace is not the world peace portrayed in ads. The peace Jesus came to bring us is not like the peace the world talks about. Jesus’ peace defies circumstances. It guards hearts and minds from despair. It is a peace we can’t understand. We can only receive it and be thankful He loves us and wants us to have it.
Like the horse of a different color, this peace is different. Its source is different. This peace is not of the world, and you can only get it by looking up, higher than earth’s hills. That is where our help comes from. (Psalm 121)
Praying for you this Christmas, that a spirit of praise envelops you, saturates you and points you to the source of victory. Have a merry, Merry Christmas.
Image by Anthony Tran courtesy of Unsplash
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