My dad dying was like God taking my favorite vase and dropping it on purpose and the shock of it all left me speechless. But I let my silence speak volumes, because I had nothing to say to God. As far as I was concerned, He’d made a mess and left me with the broken pieces. I know the Bible says all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord but maybe I didn’t love the Lord because surely no good could come from this.
Those were (sometimes still are) dark days. I’m grateful I’ve grown to a place where those days are few and far between, but when those bad days come, sometimes it’s really bad, making the good seem nonexistent. And it’s a pity, because there’s so much good. So much, that even if I tried to hide from it, the good would find a way to me. And maybe this seems impossible to believe right now. Maybe you don’t have dark days, but you have dark weeks and it’s been months since you said the word good and meant it. Misery may love company, but you’re doing just fine all by yourself. I know that feeling.
Grief is difficult. It just is. There are no shortcuts. You are where you are. Other people may not understand it and they don’t have to. You don’t have to see it right now, you don’t have to feel it, and I’m somewhat tempted to say you don’t even have to believe it (although, it helps if you do), but know that one day you will be able to genuinely smile again. You won’t measure time by loss. God will be friend to you instead of betrayer. He won’t just be seen as taker, but giver. One day, your bad days will be few and far between because good is coming to find you.
Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
It’s difficult to see God as a giver of love when you feel like He ripped it away from you, pulled it from underneath you while you were floating on cloud nine. You quickly realized, there really is no sunshine when they’re gone. You were taught God is love but the evidence you possessed of that love has vanished so you’re forced to truly learn to believe in what you can’t see. You don’t do this overnight. There are times when it doesn’t feel like God’s for you. When you not only question if He’s love, but you start to wonder if He’s even good. These are dark days and long nights but time passes and things happen, and light starts to peak through. One smile turns into another and joy no longer feels like a stranger. You no longer equate proof with truth. God helps your unbelief. You find a way to have hope and wait patiently for what you don’t yet see. You cling to a faith you didn’t know you were capable of holding on to. And soon enough, God reminds you that He’s still who He said He was. That He’s good and He’s love. And He may take, but He certainly gives.
Keep believing in what you can’t see and one day you’ll look up and find love staring you in the face.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Death always has a way of shaking my faith. Even before my father passed, I can remember being broken up when the singer Aaliyah died and crying real tears when my college professor’s father died. These are people I’d never met before but their deaths, along with many others, always made me give God the side eye. How were those closest to the deceased supposed to do life without them? Even before experiencing my own greatest loss, this seemed like an impossible task. And after living out the impossible daily, my faith is still shaken. Not broken, just shaken. This may be the thorn in my side and I’ll live with it, knowing God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 9:12).
So this week I’ve been waiting for the latter part of what Jesus said in that verse, for His strength to be made perfect in my weakness. A gifted producer and songwriter named LaShawn “Big Shiz” Daniels died in a car crash on September 3, 2019. He was not someone I knew personally, in fact, the only reason I knew of him was because my sister made me watch the show “Tamar and Vince,” and he made frequent guest appearances. I had recently stumbled across his Instagram and marveled at him and his wife’s love for each other. It’s what I love and hate about social media: it gives you access to people’s lives you wouldn’t regularly have access to, which most times brings a smile across my face. However, on Wednesday instead of bringing a smile, it brought tears I refused to cry in the middle of the day but would eventually let flow like a leaky faucet. It brought uneasiness and a restless night in which I tried desperately to find sleep. Every post I saw spoke so highly of LaShawn and how he brightened every room he walked into. He was unapologetically himself no matter what crowd he was in. If any good could come from the past five days, it’s that I am encouraged to be who and how God made me, wherever I am.
This wasn’t really my loss but I grieve the suffering those who know him are experiencing. It was their loved one this time, but it could very well have been mine. None of it makes sense and it doesn’t seem fair, but as believers even when faced with such pain, we still choose to trust God. It’s been hard to say that these past few days. Literally, bringing tears to my eyes because my heart and mind don’t believe it but my soul knows it’s true. I have hope and I pray LaShawn’s wife, children, family, and friends find a way to have hope too.
Romans 8:24-25 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.