December 13, 2013 - Serious Struggles

I want everyone to believe I have it together. That’s important to most of us, isn’t it—for others to see us as strong and courageous in the face of trouble?

But those who see us as pillars of strength and spirituality are given the false impression that we are better at enduring hardship than they are.

It’s natural for us to wish that we were unshakable in the face of tragedy. But most of us aren’t, are we?

I thank God for everything that has happened in my life to bring me to the point where I am right now—everything. But I still struggle with pain and loss—I miss my wife. It should always be my goal to trust the Lord with all my heart, soul and strength, but doing that is an ongoing process.

This is my sixth Christmas without Gwen, but others are experiencing loss for the first time. I have written several blogs dealing with loss, including Christmas Spirit in Difficult TimesBeauty for Suffering, A Season of Joy, and Thankful For Everything. I wrote those because as we approach Christmas day, our memories become more vivid, and at times, more difficult.

As Christians, we are not doomed to suffer without hope—on the contrary, our hope is real, our hope is eternal. Our grief is very real also, but grief is healthy as long as we continue to hold firm to our faith.

Although the loss we experience is painful, it does not lead us into despair. We know that our trust is in Him, and that we will see our loved ones again. This is true—ask yourself if you believe it, because if you don’t, that’s your starting point.

If this is your first Christmas without your spouse, child, or loved one, remember this—it will be different now and you can’t fix that. Regardless of what you do, you will never be the same again. But that does not mean that all is lost—on the contrary. It becomes an opportunity to show others that your faith and your trust is real.

As this week progresses, don’t wallow in self pity—instead, trust in Him to give you strength and the ability to make the most out of your situation … your loss. Minister to others who are suffering, and believe that His plan for you is best.