Suffering, Grief, and Pain
When I look at the finality of death (from this side), and then walk through the torment of loss,
suffering takes on a whole new meaning. Walking away from a freshly dug grave of a friend of 33
years, screams of the evidence of fatalism in the face of Christianity. What is this faith all about?
If it is not real here and now at this graveside, it is not real at all.
Yet faith does not negate pain or grief. In the midst of His faith that the Father would meet His
every need even in the pit of death, our Lord walked to the rock of Gethsemane and walked
through the suffering of soul and spirit. He cried and wept and groaned from the very pit of His
soul that this agony would not happen, not be necessary, but it did not subside, and He did not
withdraw from it.
He pressed through the torture of loneliness, knowing even His closest friends could not feel or
share His grief though He so much needed their companionship and encouragement. This was only for Him, you see grief and suffering is a very private pain, a very isolated agony. No matter how hard friends and relatives try to understand, they can not. Even if they share a mutual loss, it is unique to them and the loss can not be symbiotically carried. Oh, how we would love it so, but it is a single burden, unable to be grasped by anyone…anyone, that is, on the outside.
However, "There is One that sticks closer than a brother" who feels our every infirmity, and who is able to lift our head and our load from the inside, the Comforter the Parecletos, The Holy Spirit. He not only knows from experience within the Godhead through the agony of Christ, as God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, but He feels my agony, the moment I feel it.
Everything I experience He is experiencing. Why? Because we are One Spirit. His Spirit has been joined to my spirit and we have become One Spirit. Though I scream with the anguish of solitude, I am not alone. Thy Rod and Thy Staff comfort me, yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; Thou art with me…
It is of great solace to know that my friend did not die alone, although none of us were at her side, Parecletos walked within/beside her through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Notice shadow of death, what causes a shadow…LIGHT.
Death covers those without Hope, but is reduced to a shadow for those who are a part of The Light, a part of Jesus. She walked into that Glorious Light, leaving her own shadow briefly falling across our hearts in the darkness of grief, but only temporarily as we face the glow of His radiance now by faith, but soon by sight.
Is there grief, oh yes! Grief is proportionate to intimacy and love, so there is deep grief, but there is also resolution built on my friend's faith in Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. She is safe in His embrace.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the Blessed Hope of your return, and the secured faith that we will meet in sweet embrace those who sleep in You, one day.
Thank you for the life of Dr. Arlene "Ar" Airhart,
my sister in Christ,