Years ago while working with distraught toddlers whose parents had just dropped them off at preschool, I learned that if you can get them to do a physically challenging task, like climb up a slide and slide down, by the second or third time they do this they’ll be laughing and having fun. Their parents always returned and much fun was had in the meantime.
When my son, Jonathan, was two I had a miscarriage. Twelve weeks of pure, innocent, joyful anticipation came to an abrupt crashing end. I was devastated. There was no joy. I sat in sadness and ruminated about the past. Everyone who came by was subjected to my broken heart; grief overwhelmed me. And then after seven days and nights of sadness joy returned.
What do we do when it feels like the world around us is falling apart? Fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, shootings, cancer, friends departing, and death are all around us. Suffering is monumental. There are no canned, simple answers for grief and pain. Sometimes it’s good to get up and do something physically challenging, like take a walk outside, and sometimes it is good to just sit and mourn the moment of loss. God is not afraid of our intense emotions; God is not leaving us in our despair. We can feel our pain and still God is present. Joy and hope are down the road.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18