HomeWord - November 13, 2012

Heading East

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my portion forever.

 —Psalm 73:26

At the end of 2011, my father passed away rather suddenly. As a family we sat with him in the doctors office just before Thanksgiving and were told he had a month to live. He took his last breath almost exactly one month later.

I was given the book "A Grace Disguised" as a means to deal with loss.  The author, Jerry Sittser, lost his mother, wife, and daughter in a car accident leaving behind he and three other children. He tells the story of having a nightmare where he is chasing the sunset trying not to let the darkness overtake him. When he tells his sister about the dream later, she shares with him that the fastest way to reach the light is to travel east and dive into the darkness. The author then makes a decision to accept the darkness, knowing he cannot ultimately escape it but must at some point face it.

Facing the darkness has meant many different things for my mom, sister, and I as we have grieved the loss of my dad. It has meant crawling into bed at night and curling into a ball and crying, planting a tree in his memory, attending grief groups, celebrating his birthday out at dinner and telling wonderful stories about him, having days where it feels hard to put one foot in front of the other, celebrating his traits as we see them in his grandchildren, and accepting the hugs, thoughts, help, and love of friends whenever it is offered.

I have learned through my own experience that grief and its various responses looks different for each person. I am grateful for all that my dad was to me, so thankful to God that I had him as my father and for his example. However, I also find myself sad and upset about my loss. I love reading through the Psalms, especially when I am sad. Psalms 43:1-2 reads "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea."

Through our loss...through any loss, God wants to be our strength, comfort, and hope. We simply need to ask and seek.  In our darkest hours, in our most anguished times, the Lord is your fortress, shield, protector, comforter. Head east. He will bring the light to the darkest of places.

GOING DEEPER:

1. How have you experienced loss in your own life?  How did you attempt to cope with your loss?

2. Is it hard or easy for you to trust that God is still good even in the most challenging times?  Why?

FURTHER READING:

[Psalms 23Isaiah 40:18-31Matthew 11:25-30] 

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