Grief

September 01, 2014

Daily Advance – Weekly Column
By D. Clay Perkins, Ph.D.
President, Mid-Atlantic Christian University

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Psalm 119:50 (NIV)

You will increase my honor and comfort me once more.

Psalm 71:21 (NIV)

She was very close to her mother. Her family was large, with seven siblings, yet she had a special relationship with her mother. Then her mother died unexpectedly.

Grief is never a quick process. This is especially true when the grieving is over someone you love so much. It is without end, until that special day. For Christians, grief is unique – it is pain confused by faith. Faith calls us to know what we hope for and to be certain of what we do not see. (See Hebrews 11:1.) Often we need to see the nail prints. We need to see that which cannot be seen.

She thought her prayer was one without faith, a prayer of a doubter. She prayed, “Lord, I want a rose!” Yellow roses were her mother’s favorite. So she asked God, “If Mom is okay, and I know she is, send me a yellow rose from my mother on the one-year anniversary of her death to let me know for sure.”

“Lord, I want a yellow rose!”

Her faith told her not to ask such a thing from God, not to tempt God, not to question God’s timing. Her faith told her this sign was not needed. Her faith told her that she already knew, but somehow her heart would not listen. So her prayer was a request from her heart, a silent request between her and her God.

The day came. Had she allowed her emotions to override all common sense? Had she set herself up for more pain? Why did she do this? Why did she doubt? Her faith was strong, but her grief was also strong.

The day was anxious. Morning came with many good events, but no yellow rose. Afternoon came, and the lack of a gift from God caused the prayers to change. “God, I am sorry. I know that your Word is true. I know my mother is fine. My head, my faith will just have to convince my heart. God, thank you.”

Then there was a came from her boss. “Meet me.” She thought to herself, this day had been full, and this interruption would slow her down in closing out the day’s responsibilities. Sensing her frustration, the reply came back, “I have something you want.” The sight took her breath away. The God of the universe had honored her doubt. There before her was a single yellow rose. To the giver, the rose was a thank you gift for a job well done. To her, it was a gift from God in response to the prayers of her heart.

God is the giver of all good things. He gives comfort in the time of grief. And sometimes, a yellow rose.

Stay focused.

 


This article first appeared in The Daily Advance and The Daily Advance owns the copyright for this article. Contact Publisher Michael Goodman at mgoodman@dailyadvance.com for permission to reprint.