Sorrow and Story: Life Journey no. 5

God Walks with || Us

We are not alone

We stood in a huddle by the grave in silence with arms wrapped around each other, our tears falling to the already wet turf. Dad’s long arms drew us close together. Our grief too deep for words. One of the hardest days of my life. My family hadn’t planned on being there that day, grieving the loss of our sister and daughter. She was young, only thirty-three. Her death was unexpected, shocking, and tragic. As a family, we plunged into a sorrowing too great for words. I can’t describe the sorrow my family experienced then and for years to come as we tried to accept what is impossible to accept. (You can read her story here.)

We all have a story; sorrow is part of our story.

Sorrow, like pain and suffering, enters as the result of an unwelcome event. Loss often breeds sorrow like an accompanying shadow, which lengthens, grows, and darkens our ability to return to joy. We grieve for what we once had, the person we lost, the friendship that ended, the hope that died, the person we used to be before it happened, or the choice that ruined a future.

The pull is on our emotions, a form of inner devastation. The light dims that once shown brightly. We smile but life is missing in the smile. We forget things, misplace objects, are less attentive to the needs of others. We become less engaged, less confident, quiet, and sad while immersed in the shadow of grief.

Sorrow changes us. A stoic personality will not speak of this, but it never leaves. The sensitive personality may not want to speak of it for fear of becoming emotional, and the self-protected person will deny its existence and carry-on in a normal fashion without admitting its devastation, they are coping in their own way.

Why did it happen?

 I might as well say it, what trips us up is the why. Why did this happen to me, to us? We don’t know why. We want answers. We want to understand. We want to know why God allowed it and why He didn’t intervene. We want to know if it could have been prevented, and we want to know what to do with our anger. But we don’t get answers. Instead we learn to ask a different question. What do we do now? It helps to acknowledge sorrow. This allows grace to enter our hearts and gives hope to our future.

Enter the quiet place.

God ministers to us in the secret places of the heart. He carries us like a kind shepherd carries an injured lamb. He guides us as we wander through a foreign and heretofore unknown, darkened pathway where we don’t know the way. Our kind and gentle Father God offers comfort where there is sadness, hope where there is pain, and love where there is loss.

Dear beloved child of God, your sorrow is for a season in this life. One day it will be eased. We cannot escape sorrow or suffering. There is no other way than face it. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.” These words are true, so true. Do not despair, you will live again. Sorrow takes you to new realms, there you will be ministered to in the depths of your soul, and God will tenderly guide you and teach you.

God saves our tears in a bottle, stored where our story is being written . . . through the grace of God as we draw upon His love. We come to trust our heavenly father as we walk with sorrow and suffering, twin companions that have upended us. Acceptance and grace will come when the sorrowing has lessened in intensity.

Some suggestions.

  •  Read helpful books on grief or related subjects.
  •  Embrace thankfulness with a grateful heart every day.
  •  Get alone with God and share your heart. Allow Him access.
  •  Journal write your thoughts, even the ugly ones.
  •  Seek counsel; professional, pastoral, lay, or other.
  •  Allow yourself to cry.
  •  Surround yourself with positive, helpful people. You will need them.
  •  Look to the good despite the bad. Look forward to a new day.

The Good Shepherd knows your name.

A book was given to me by a real estate professional the second time I was abandoned at age thirty-three; I was sorrowing, alone and afraid. This Christian brother gave me a copy of Hinds Feet on High Places, an allegory about a crippled hart appropriately named, Much-Afraid. The storyline in this book helped me understand sorrow and suffering and how the Chief Shepherd guides us on our spiritual journey. Its message might be helpful for you or someone you know who is in need comfort.

  • “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10
  • “How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?” Psalm 12:2
  • “When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.” Luke 22:45, 46

Audio Clip on Sorrow – 6:39 minutes


God’s best, Norma

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N. L. Brumbaugh likes to write contemplative thoughts about authentic spiritual living. A lot of heart goes into every one of her posts. She is a mix of reading specialist, country woman, writer, church leader, and storyteller. Norma loves creative artistry and celebrating life.