Tag Archives: Loss

Unheard – A Sedoka (Sort of)

The deafening sound
of a cry unheard, silenced
‘ere it had a chance at life

Echoes whispering
in a mother’s heart and soul
aching to hear what’s unheard

* * * * *

2/25/14 Update: Shared this for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night today because I haven’t had time to write a new poem for today.

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Last Breath – A Cinquain

Breathing
in, out again
no other sound so dear
except if you spoke, one more time,
I’d hear.

I wrote this cinquain for dVerse Poets Pubs FormForAll. It is my attempt to capture my experience of Thursday last week as I sat in my sister’s hospital room, praying she had it in her to keep fighting cancer, but knowing she did not.

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All Things Are Possible – A Poem

Sadness and joy
are hard to hold
at the same time

Mourning death
and celebrating life
in the same moment
is impossible for me

But with God
all things are possible

I’m still feeling sad over the death of my sister, but tomorrow is my son’s 18th birthday. Talking to a good friend about this yesterday she made the comment that sadness and joy are hard to hold together. She’s right.

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Give My Love to Rose

I’ve been listening to old Johnny Cash music in my car this past week. I love all his old stuff, but one song in particular has always been one of my favorites. I decided I wanted to share it for Music Monday. It’s called Give My Love to Rose.

It’s a sad song, but there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that the man was found before he died so that Rose would receive the message of how much he loved her.

The cynic in my always thinks, “What if they guy who finds him just takes off with the money and never gives his love to Rose?” But for some reason, maybe because of the sincerity of Johnny’s baritone voice, I believe that the message – and the money – will be delivered as requested.

As if to reinforce the message, the dying man says, “God bless you for finding me this morning, and don’t forget to give my love to Rose.” He puts what is left of his life in the hands of this man who found him, and puts the life of the man who found him in the hands of God.

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He Is All That Matters – A Poem

This poem was inspired by a comment to my poem last Thursday. I just started with a quote from the comment as the title. So how does this really fit into the Thankful Thursday theme, you ask? Well, I am thankful for the inspiration from a commenter and fellow blogger last week. I am thankful that although I have much in this world to be thankful for, if I lost all my material possessions today, and even if the world came to an end today, I would still have Jesus and He is all that really matters in the end.

He Is All That Matters

Blessings are given
All is forgiven
But He is all that matters

Friends betray
And move far away
Still He is all that matters

Homes we construct
Business we conduct
But He is all that matters

Houses upturn
Church buildings burn
Still He is all that matters

Careers are planned
Desires expand
But He is all that matters

Jobs are lost
We can’t pay the cost
Still He is all that matters

Weddings are celebrated
Children are dedicated
But He is all that matters

Children die
Spouses lie
Still He is all that matters

The trumpet sounds
Joy abounds
Then He restores all that matters

And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. Matthew 24:30-31 (NLT).

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Finding God in Grief and Trials

I’ve recently finished reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. I was quite surprised by how quickly I was able to get through its 76 pages plus Foreword and Introduction. Usually Lewis requires one to re-read numerous paragraphs to fully grasp just exactly what it is he is trying to say. I’ve often found Lewis to be quite intellectually challenging, though always worth the effort. But this book was different; it was more emotional than intellectual; nonetheless it was well worth reading.

Lewis wrote this book, though not intending it to be a book exactly, shortly after his wife Joy Davidman died of cancer. It consists of his journaled thoughts and feelings in working through his grief over his great loss and the impact it had on his faith. Though his faith remained intact, and was perhaps even strengthened by his grief, it was shaken to its core by this experience.

In the midst of Lewis’ rantings at God and doubts about his faith he shares some very profound thoughts about the nature of God, faith, and the inevitable trials we all face in this life. Regarding the trials of life, he wrote:

But of course one must take ‘sent to try us’ the right way. God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. A Grief, pg. 52.

This reminded me of the story of Job. God allowed Satan to test Job, to put him through trials of losing his possessions and family, as well as an attack on his health. Job 1-2. God allows this to prove to Satan that Job will not lose his faith and will not curse God; knowing all the time exactly how Job would respond.

When we begin to forget the core of our faith or fail to notice a weakness in our thinking about faith or God, it is then that God will allow trials in our lives; not as an experiment to find out how we will respond, but as a means of reminding us of the power of our faith or of pointing out a hole in our faith fence that needs to be mended lest the enemy sneak in unannounced to destroy us completely.

As Lewis began to stand firmly on his faith in God once again, and to see the weaknesses in his own understanding of God, he pondered whether he was “sidling back to God” simply as a means to once again see his beloved Joy some day in Heaven. It is at this juncture in Lewis’ though processes that I came to this wonderful quote:

But then of course I know perfectly well that He can’t be used as a road. If you’re approaching Him not as the goal but as a road, not as the end but as a means, you’re not really approaching Him at all. That’s what was really wrong with all those popular pictures of happy reunions ‘on the further shore’; not the simple-minded and very earthly images, but the fact that they make an End of what we can get only as a by-product of the true End. A Grief, pg. 68.

We must seek God and a relationship with Him for its own sake, not for whatever else we can get from it, from Him.

It seems to me that the same can be cited as the problem with hellfire and brimstone preaching. It calls one to seek God not for His own sake, but merely as a means to avoiding a most unpleasant situation eternally.

There are many books that speculate as to what both Heaven and Hell will be like. But to me, the best description of Heaven is to be in the presence of God; the best description of Hell is to be separated from Him; all other details of either place are superfluous.

Perhaps it is precisely when we forget that the aim of our faith must be God Himself that He sends a trial of loss, so that we may see that we have placed some inferior desire ahead of our desire for Him alone, but that if we turn back to Him we will weather the loss and be whole again. Without the trial we might miss out on the wonder of the only relationship we truly cannot live without.

You see, God is more concerned with our spiritual well-being and the strength of our relationship with Him (the most essential thing in our life), than He is with our comfort. In Lewis’ case, it was the loss of his beloved wife that allowed him to fully grasp this truth. For another whose health and physical prowess are their desired ends and where they place their faith, the loss necessary to reveal their need for God might involve a major illness or injury. If one has focused on their career and find their worth in their occupational success, the loss that leads them back to God might be prolonged unemployment.

Is there something that is keeping you from seeking God for His own sake? Will you heed the subtle messages sent by God to draw you to Him, or will it require a major loss or trial to set you in a right relationship with Him? Lewis, in spite of his intellectual and even real faith in God, found that His profound loss brought him closer to his Creator. Sometimes that is what is required.

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An Intercessor’s Heart

Everyone experiences difficulties in life. It can be the loss of a job, an illness that never seems to end, a broken marriage and a broken heart, not being able to make ends meet, a physical or verbal attack by a friend or a stranger, the devastation of a natural disaster, and the list goes on. But the greatest tragedy is that all of these difficulties and trials have shattered hope.

When we go through some difficulty and then we finally reach the end of it, we can respond is different ways. One way is to be happy for ourselves and try to just put it all behind us, never thinking of the difficulty again. Another is to not be able to get over it, to remain bitter and resentful that we had to go through this trial at all, never giving thanks for the restoration we have experienced.

A third way we can respond is to rejoice that we have made it through with the help of God, but to never forget how it felt to be in the midst of that trial. This third response helps to develop an intercessor’s heart filled with empathy. This is the response I have chosen in response to the many trials I have faced in life. God has used this response to develop in me an intercessor’s heart with the desire to pray for others who are going through trials of their own.

I recently learned of the ongoing struggles of a fellow Christian on the Third Day Connect website, which involved several of these difficulties all at once. I don’t know this woman, but my heart went out to her and I wanted to help. But I have no way of helping her except to pray. And so pray I have, primarily that God will restore her hope, which seems to have been shattered into a billion little pieces by the weight of her troubles.

I doubt her story is all that unique. Many struggle because the weight of life has shattered their hope. I know I can’t restore their hope, but I know the One who can. The devil would like God’s people to drown in their trials, but God has promised to restore hope to those who believe.

I have a wooden sculpture of the word “Hope” that I got at the Relay for Life. I sat it on top of a picture in my bathroom and it fell to the floor and broke into many pieces. My son tried to glue it back together using Elmer’s glue, wood glue, and a hot glue gun, but pieces still keep falling off. It will never be the same. I actually bought a new one at Relay for Life this year to replace it, but I keep both on the windowsill in my bedroom as a reminder of hope shattered and hope restored.

The apostle Peter wrote about weathering trials and the promise that God will restore hope:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:6-10.

Peter’s reminder that other believers are “undergoing the same kind of sufferings” led me to another thought. What if, instead of waiting until after we have been restored from our trials to intercede for others in prayer, we also prayed for others undergoing the exact same trials we are undergoing right now?

  • What if, as you looked at a pile of bills you didn’t have the means to pay, you stopped to intercede for all those around the world who were also struggling to make ends meet?
  • What if, as you sat in the clinic chair undergoing weekly chemotherapy for cancer, you prayed for the many who had just received their diagnosis or who were facing surgery to remove a tumor?
  • What if, as you sat in your living room in shock that your spouse had left you or cheated on you, you cried out to God for all the broken hearts and failing marriages across the nation?
  • What if, as you surveyed the damage to your house from fire, tornado, or flood in disbelief that it could all be destroyed, you interceded with our Father for the many who lost all their worldly possessions?
  • What if, sitting in the front pew at your loved one’s memorial service, you shed a tear for those sitting around you and at memorial services throughout the world?

What if we used our pain and suffering to care for others in pain? How would that change us? How would that change them? Would it give God an opening to restore hope to a people that desperately need it? I believe it would. And I believe it would strengthen the intercessor’s heart in all of us. Will you choose to join me in this intercessory endeavor? I hope so.

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