Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No Other Aid

Here's a link to the audio from Sunday's sermon - click here.  This is a further meditation on that same journey to "The Third Floor."

The situation of the two widows (in 1 Kings 17:17-24 and Luke 7:11-17) is desperate beyond anything I've ever experienced... but one thing they have going for them--the loss of their husbands and children is something other people could understand.  Often, like in Luke 7, the whole community turns out in sympathy.  Pastor Ken Klaus said the same thing early Sunday morning on The Lutheran Hour.  Everyone can understand that kind of grief.

There are other griefs, however, that bring us to the "second and third floor" of our lives in a way that are more difficult to understand.  In the past 9 months or so, for example, I have wept at times with a depth of sadness that even I don't comprehend.  And others--well, how can they understand if I don't?  "Why is he overreacting?"  "Is he losing his mind?"

I tell people not to worry.  I let them know that sometimes the best way for me to hold things together is to let myself fall apart for awhile.  Even in the depths, I have learned to trust in God.  When I am in the depths I have a hard time reassuring others, but I know I'll be okay.  I know that because of experience, but even more I know from trusting God's Word.  Psalm 30 is a great example of that.

When I feel waves of sadness coming over me, I have very literally gone to the second or third floor of our home to be alone with God.  It's not that I would not welcome an understanding arm around the shoulder or a listening ear, it's just that some things are so deep that the only one who truly understands is my Father in Heaven, God Himself.  Perhaps you have experienced moments like that--when feelings are beyond our human ability to explain.

I want to encourage you to seek an understanding someone to come alongside you.  The situations that "no one can explain" are truly rare.  Often we might need to talk with a listening, praying, caring person who has been equipped for ministry as a pastor or counselor or prayer minister.  Don't go all alone with a heavy heart to the "prayer closet" too soon.  Don't go there alone for long when you are overcome with grief or trouble.  Share your journey with a trusted Christian elder who can guide you.

But, when there truly is no other aid, go and pray alone.  Pour out your heart to God.  Bring your Bible or a Christian devotional book.  Ask God to speak to you.  Let him push you, if he desires, to share your grief with another.  But when there is no other aid, go to God the Father directly.  Pour out your complaint in sighs and groans and cries too deep for words.  In Jesus' name, God will hear.  He will understand.  In Jesus Christ, God has been there too.


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