Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Never Closer

Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13

It had been a hard weekend. Three years had passed since Andrew’s death. But celebrating his birthday, or rather not celebrating it, was still hard. We’d done our usual family tradition of sending balloons to heaven, one for each year he would have been. We got through the rest of the day and finally it was a new morning.

As worship started at church that day, I determined to stay engaged and declare my devotion to God in spite of my pain. Maybe it was the rhythm of the song being just right. Maybe it was my hurting heart longing for the comfort of my heavenly Father. But soon I had this mental image of dancing with God, snuggled close to His chest. Swaying to the music, we danced together. Being held in His arms and receiving His comfort, I was able to let go — the hurt, the grief, the sadness-- and just rest in the comfort of His presence. No matter what this life held, He was staying with me through it all.

Then suddenly, my picture changed and it was like God stepped back, as in a ballroom dance, and swung me out, turning me into the arms of another. It was Andrew--not my little boy of five, but a grown up, mature version of my son. We danced together for the rest of the song, reminiscent of the many times we’d danced together in the kitchen when he was alive.

I realized as worship ended and the message began, that whatever the images in my imagination, the truth of the situation was very real. Yes, I missed my son. But when I came to God with my grief and pain, when I entered his presence, I was closer than I ever could be to my son, because he too was in the presence of God.

That is the hope that we have in grief. It is not the end, but a temporary separation, bridged by the eternal presence of God. Through Christ, we have a hope that fuels joy, a joy that allows us to dance even in the midst of our grief.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Juli,

    We have been away at the beach with family, and I am just catching up...This most recent post was just what I needed to read: "that is the hope that we have in grief. It is not the end, but a temporary separation, bridged by the eternal presence of God." I try so hard to remember that, but sometimes it gets lost in how much I miss Caroline. I try so hard to hang onto this message, and remember that my future includes Caroline. Thank you, Juli, for the reminder! I look forward to your posts on Tuesdays and Fridays...they always say something special to me that I need to hear!

    Thank you - Carol

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  2. Our lifelong battle eh? But thankfully God's given us hope and the understanding of perspective. So glad you were encouraged!

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