During World War II, the Royal Air Force
dropped enormous bundles of tin foil to confuse the Nazi
anti-aircraft radar defences. They called these decoys “Window”.
Grief often leaves us feeling overwhelmed, however, by the amount of
“noise” on the radar screens of our hearts.
Most of you will understand exactly
what I mean when I speak of such intrusions. One minister I met,
however, told me that he only ever needs a few seconds to bring his
soul to rest, no matter how great the challenges he is facing. I
have the feeling that he and I live on different planets! On the
other hand – why waste time and energy “worrying” when the Lord
wants us to have confidence in Him?
What we do not need are people
brandishing platitudes at us. “Taking a stand in faith” does not
mean living in unreality. What will help us are experienced saints
who reassure us that the distress we are going through is normal,
and who are prepared to stand beside us and love us back to full
As we shall be seeing in the
Appendix, “Tension – The Neurosis of Faith,” some of us are
more prone than others to experiencing anxiety in the aftermath of
loss. For some this is a matter of temperament, for others it is the
result of distressing episodes from our past. Speaking as one who
arrived into the world on a hospital floor, with my mother
unconscious and no midwife in sight, I understand entirely why
people who have had difficult birth experiences are prone to feeling
abandoned when too many pressures come their way.
Complications of attachment and
separation in our earliest years can have a major significant impact
on our emotional development, often causing insecurities to surface
during times of loss – for grief is a time when strong emotions rage
and old temptations abound. Let’s also face this fact: that in our
spiritual warfare, there are no vacations and no time-outs, and the
enemy would be missing a trick if he failed to take advantage of our
In C. S. Lewis’s masterpiece, The
Screwtape Letters, a senior devil counsels his nephew, a junior
tempter, in the ignoble art of luring the devout astray – whether
into pastimes of no spiritual significance – or, alternatively,
stoking their passions until they become ensnared in foolish
affairs.5 In either instance, serious spiritual warfare is going on
behind the scenes.
Bearing this in mind, it is
worthwhile checking from time to time to see whether grief is
causing us to be consumed with some particular line of thought. Our
waking thoughts are often an indication of where our dominant
Each of us must bring our deepest
longings to the Cross in the full assurance that we are loved and
accepted at the deepest level of our being.