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Pilgrim's Guides


  Minimizing Grief's Desolation
Part Four



Expressing Grief and Loss
When Impatience Sets in
The Power of Resilience
Bringing Rest to Troubled Souls

Too Many Choices
When the Grass Appears Greener
Wounds in the Household of Faith
Moving beyond the Reefs of Rejection
Handling Dark Times: Tunnel Experiences
The Dark Night of the Soul

  Wer hat Wahl hat Qual – Choices bring pain.
German proverb
  In all good dramas, much of the tension, like the action itself, centres around the choices that people make. Since most grief events in our own real-life dramas call for multiple decisions, may the Lord help us to choose wisely – especially when our emotions are already stretched and strained.

In the months after Ros’s strange spasms began, we found it hard to know who to tell about what was going on. We finally shared the information with about sixty people, but soon found it exhausting trying to respond to their feedback.

Lovingly offered, most of the suggestions that came our way stemmed from experiences these people had gone through themselves, or which they had heard about from others. We found the sheer number of alternatives overwhelming, especially because they covered an impossibly large spectrum. It was rather like being told that

Ros was suffering from mumps, measles, housemaid’s knee and a broken leg all at the same time!
Since, by definition only one of these diagnoses could possibly be right, we found the whole experience profoundly disorientating. As a rule, we found that the more intensely people offered their suggestions, the less they witnessed to our spirits. The one “constant” that emerged was that this was first and foremost a spiritual assault – in other words, something to resist rather than to adapt to. With this in mind I organised the day of prayer I described earlier which brought about the breakthrough.

Choices are easier to make when we know what it is we are trying to achieve. Taking a stand for our principles calls for considerable courage, however, when we know that they are likely to prove unpopular in certain quarters. There comes a time when, like Martin Luther, we can do no other. To hesitate at this point would be to concede ground to the enemy, and to risk missing our goal altogether.7

If I may take an example that meant a lot to us, even though it barely registers when compared to the more serious issues we are looking at elsewhere in this book, we wanted our last two children to be born at home. A consultant summoned Ros when she was forty weeks pregnant with our third child, and, without raising his eyes from his desk, told her that he wanted her to come into the hospital for an induction “because babies die if they are left in the womb.”

He had chosen the wrong person to pontificate to! Aware that her gestation cycle regularly takes her well beyond her due date, Ros was able to stand her ground – but how many other women would have been able to withstand so much pressure at such a vulnerable time. If we had packed our bags and made our way to the labour ward, we would have missed a wonderful home water birth.

All too many stories do not have such a happy outcome, of course. Tragedy strikes unexpectedly, and we may be left grief-stricken and frustrated because we unable to secure the specialized help we needed. Or the medical staff lose interest because they consider the situation to be beyond hope, and they turn their attention to acute cases that may lead to a more “favourable” outcome.

More often than not, however, there are choices to make, and how we handle these “choosing moments” is all important. Putting off making any decision at all is still a “choice” – though rarely a wise one. May the Lord inspire the choices we make in the short, medium and long term – and graciously sort out any foolish ones we have made!


Reflect and Pray

Faithful God,
be with us in the specific choices that we must make.

Align our hearts to Yours,
in true wisdom and humility,

and so help us to find
the paths that You have prepared for us.

In Jesus name, Amen.





Ian Britton FreeFoto.com

When the Grass Appears Greener
I thought to Myself, “I would love to treat you as My own children!” I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land – the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling Me “Father,” and I wanted you never to turn from Me. But you have been unfaithful to Me. You’ve been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband.
Jeremiah 3:19-20

The opening chapters of Jeremiah contain some of the most poignant and tender laments in the Bible. The Lord has done so much for His people, and it hurts Him when they proved as unfaithful to Him as a wife who deserts her husband and runs to take another. For Jeremiah, as for Hosea, there can be no greater sin than turning our backs on our Heavenly Lover. It grieves the Lord deeply. Read More . . .
7 You will find the teaching series I have written on the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation helpful in this respect.

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