What was it that had happened to cause
the psalmist such distress? We are not told precisely, and in a
sense, this makes it easier to apply his response to our own
situation. When we too are feeling vexed with life, and intensely
aware of our limitations, it is time to cast all our cares on the
Lord.1 After all, the only real alternative to doing this is to
bottle up our emotions, and to allow guilt, oppression, failure and
weariness to spill over into self-pity – that most deadly of all the
soul’s many enemies.
“There is no grief like the grief
which does not speak,” the poet Longfellow warned. A Turkish proverb
repeats the same message: “He who conceals his grief finds no remedy
Those who hold their grief inside
themselves after a loss occurs usually do so because they want to
remain strong for the sake of their children, or other loved ones.
“Delayed” grief differs from “denial” in that it is not a deliberate
attempt to avoid facing reality. Even so, keeping a tight rein on
emotions that are bursting to find expression imposes immense
strains. Sooner or later, repressed grief finds its way to the
surface. When the initial anaesthetic has worn off, and overwhelming
feelings flood back in, pray for the Lord and His people to be
present to help them work their grief out stage by stage.
If family and professional
commitments make it difficult for you to face the full onslaught of
your grief, try setting aside specific times in which to let it out.
Don’t neglect to plan in some “out-of-the-house” events to distract
from the intensity of it! As Catherine Marshall urges,
||One can at least take the
cup with both hands and put it to one’s lips at intervals,
and then, for a while, turn to something else. Somehow, the
cup becomes lighter, a little more bearable, its contents
less bitter each time the cup is voluntarily grasped.2
provide me with people I can open up to safely –
but may I not make the terms
for letting others close so demanding
that people lose the incentive to reach out to me.
May I, in turn, be a source of strength and comfort
for others in their grief and isolation.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
When Impatience sets in
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting
God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or
weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to
the weary and increases the power of the weak.3
In the days
before steam power, anyone crossing the oceans had to be prepared
for times when lack of wind caused progress to be measured more by
the centimetre than the kilometre. Prolonged periods of being
becalmed did not, of course, usually prevent the ship from reaching
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