Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When Sorrow Like Sea Billows Roll

This is the blog you never expect to write. There are few words that accurately explain the emotions my family feels right now but after a few days I have come to terms with the reality of God's plan and wanted to share this with those who read about our lives.

On Sunday morning I was notified that my brother had committed suicide by hanging himself. The pain pierces deep into your soul. It is a sad reality that always seems to happen to "other people."(This is a picture of Justin)

The grieving process is difficult because emotions seem to change so rapidly, sadness and sorrow quickly turn into resentment and self loathing, anger to depression, and confusing to frustration. Perhaps the most difficult part of this situation is that there are so many questions that will not and cannot ever be answered. We have cried many tears, we have hugged many friends and family member and we have sought to understand this situation as best as we can.

Laura and I are so thankful for our friends and family that have supported us and we firmly believe the peace we are experiencing right now is a direct result of the prayers on our behalf from people like David Baber, Danny Franks, Bobby Farr, and many others. These prayers and condolences helped set our perspective early and encouraged us to pursue God and cherish Christ rather than allow this to drive us into isolation and sorrow.

It seems that the sudden tragedies are the ones that hurt the most. While I have been going through this I wanted to use this event to make a few points and give words of encouragement to anyone who reads this blog.

1) Don't waste the death of a loved one by taking comfort only in each other and not in God. Entrust your souls and your comfort to a loving God who Hebrews tells us we can approach with confidence to receive mercy to help in a time of need. (Heb. 4:16)

2) Don't waste the death of a loved one by refusing to think about your own mortality. Psalm 90:12 tells us to number our days so that we may get a heart of wisdom. How sweet a face-to-face meeting with the creator of the universe will be, we should meditate on the glories of that day.

3) You will waste the death of a loved one if you don’t understand that it is on the very edge of what appears to be a curse that we receive God’s greatest gifts. That we have peace and comfort and salvation and joy not just in troubled times but for eternity because one man accepted a curse on our behalf.

4) The manifestation of sin is different in each of our lives believer and non-believer a like, but the reality is that apart from Christ, in this world or the next, we face a dark, lonely, desperate situation. The idea of eternal death is not scary because of what we might encounter but rather it is terrifying because of what we won’t encounter. Apart from Christ death is a spiritual separation from God and there is nothing more sorrowful than that.

5) Take opportunities like these to renew ties with friends and family, if we loose a loved one and don't value the relationships we have more, what have we learned?

6) Understand God loves us and has a plan for us but we are sinful and separated from Him. Gods word tells us that we have all sinned, whether it is the little white lie or the blatant active rebellion and the wages of those sins is death. This death is not merely physical death that we will all encounter one day but a spiritual death. Spiritual death is eternity remaining separated from God, there is no pain or suffering imaginable worse than existence in a world absent of God.

Understand that as God love you so much that he doesn’t leave us to fend for ourselves, he doesn’t leave us to try and be holy. You see, our sins place a divide between us and God so great that no man can cross it but he has provided a way through his son Jesus. God sent Jesus to live a perfect, holy, blameless, selfless, righteous life on this earth and then having no sin Christ gave himself as a suitable sacrifice to God for our sin.

Understand that there is hope and peace and grace and mercy in Christ and that by placing faith in him as payment to God for our sins then you too can experience those things.

Understand that by individually placing you faith in Christ you can stand before a dead loved one and savor 1 Corith. 15 when it says O death, where is your victory, O grave, where is your sting? This is something Horatio Spattford understood when he wrote the hymn, It is Well With My Soul...

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul

1 comment:

CarolAnne said...

Zach, I just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear this news. I've driven by your house lots this week and I have been really concerned. When I read your blog about what happened to Justin my jaw hit the floor. I just want to let you know that my prayers are with you and your family right now. Also if your family needs anything at all remember I'm right down the street.