From the Preacherman….
Crushed. That is how we have felt the last few days. Crushed. Is
there a better word to describe our hearts and souls in the days since
Issac Sterett’s death? Not for me. There are times I feel as if all the air is
being pressed from my lungs as tears flow from my eyes. If I am honest
with God and with you, crushed states most clearly my emotional and
spiritual state since last Friday. Crushed.
What are we to do in such times? You have to take time for the
pain. Stay with it. Feel it all. Now or later, we will have to deal with the
awfulness of this loss. So, feel it all and express it. The temptation right
now is to compensate for our loss with expressions of hope. But Issac’s
presence with God does not yet compensate for his absence from us. A
giant, aching, heartbreaking hole is left in all of our hearts and, for right
now, feeling all of that pain is enough.
Because, astonishingly, God is in the pain. That is the surest and
truest meaning of the cross for me. God is present in the worst things of
life so that we know to look and search and find God in those desolate,
awful places. As a pastor I have come to know the deep truth that God is
in the empty darkness of life as much as in the bright, beautiful joy. Thus,
I don’t have to fear anything, even death, because there is no place where
God is not found. “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee
from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my
bed in Sheol, you are there.” (Psalm 139:7-8) God is in this world, and it
Finally, ask God about it. Directly. Don’t be bashful, just say it in
prayer, say it out loud, say it again and again, in tears and anger. It
always baffles me that people think they can say one thing to God, but
think another. Does not God already know? So, say it, furiously or
quietly, but keep speaking it aloud in the face of crushing loss. The
practice of such faith matters. It keeps me alive to ask questions of faith
with the expectation that God will answer.
Many years ago when I started my life as a pastor I thought my job
was to have all of the answers for people with heartache and great pain.
Over the years I have learned to say less and simply be present, to listen
and weep and stop speaking for God. God can and will say all that is
needed. And it is more than enough. Peace….Chris