Guest Post By Catherine Arnsperger
For those of us who have suffered loss, let us sit in ashes at the feet of God.
God is God and we are not.
Sometimes that was all I could even say to Him. “You are God and I am not.” Sullen. Defeated. Broken. “You are God and I am not.”
This God, who knows where are the storehouses of the snow and who created the ostrich to be stupid but to run fast and who created the Behemoth and the Leviathan and to Whom everything under heaven and earth belongs…
Let us sit in ashes and confess that we are just human.
Broken-hearted humans who do not understand for we are only dust. We came from the dust. We will return to the dust. We are not God. OH LORD, YOU are God, we are not! Let us confess, as we wrestle, that we believe that He is God and He can do what He wants.
But He is good. Good in a way that is so marvelous we cannot even comprehend.
But, as we sit in ashes, let us also confess that we expect Him to keep His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9).
The promises that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
The promises that He will bind us up as we are broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3) and poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).
Let us confess that we expect blessings to come from this pain and we expect wisdom to understand and for Him to be revealed in glory to us.
And let us cling to the greatest promise of all: that His Son’s blood was enough to pay the price for our sin so that we might be united with Him forever after we, too, die!
We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And He did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that He will continue to deliver us. (2 Corinthians 1:8b-10 NLT)
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but You will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. (Psalm 71:20 NLT)
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever. (Psalm 73:26 NLT)
O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I will cry to You for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings! (Psalm 61:1-4 NLT)
He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29,31 NLT)
What then is the conclusion? Do we then sit in ashes forever? No! There is joy and restoration and life to be had because of the redemptive work of our God, the one who designed His glory to include our salvation and our purchase to become daughters and sons.
And Job? The Lord blessed Job! The Lord showed Job that He was God and Job was not through great suffering. And when it was all over, God blessed Job. God blessed Job many times over.
Is there a blessing in the grief? Is there really joy in the morning?
Yes. I promise.
You know what? I can see blessings in my own life. Some obvious blessings are our three living children, all born after Abigail and (wowzers) all boys!
Another blessing is that I have a higher view of God and His perfect and pleasing will and for that I am grateful.
Eight years out? I am grateful that He allowed me to suffer much hardship, He restored me to life again and lifted me up from the depths of the earth (Psalm 71:20).
I survived this and now I know how to survive trials when they come again, for they will come again. Because Jesus promised we would have trouble. And it takes trouble to teach the heart.
But truthfully? I am just grateful for today’s reprieve from suffering. Hearing God from a whirlwind takes its toll on this girl, a girl made from dust.