(Disclaimer: This is raw. Not perfectly written or perfectly expressed...)
A moment hung in the air... Everything was silent.
What did he say? I didn't hear that right... I couldn't have. It just doesn't make sense. What did you say?
I said, the marriage is over. We're getting a divorce.
There are moments in life that launch us beyond the realm of "sense". Beyond the place where feet are able to touch the ground and feel its surety. Where hands are able to reach out and grab a hold, expecting not to fall... Where the "laws of life" that we think are real and true, as real and true as the laws of nature, collapse...
The marriage is over. We're getting a divorce.
His heart stopped. He stopped breathing. He died.
I'm sorry. She's gone.
I was raped. And I'm pregnant.
She will never be able to have children.
Your son has cancer.
These moments launch us into a new realm we did not know existed. Of course we'd read about it. We saw shows about it on TV... We knew of someone else it happened to...
But to me? For me, in my own experience, it's real. I didn't know this was real.
Then "they" say, She's gone off the deep end. We're worried about her choices. Why is he with someone else so soon? She should be selling the house. She needs to see the doctor. They should be happy to adopt. He should get his affairs in order.
People speak often times of what they do not know. "They" speak to the bereaved as though "life laws" still apply. That the normal expectations of life should remain intact after a life has been brutally launched into the realm of catastrophic loss. They see in simple systems. Do this. And get this. This = this. Naturally.
It is sometimes as if the church is calling to the bereaved, come back into our system and everything will turn out for good. You'll see! It says right here in Scripture! (Here, "they" typically quote Rom 8:28 or Jeremiah 29:11, both very true and powerful verses I might add.)
But these "systems", man-made systems, did not hold fast for the one to whom they speak!! The bereaved is lost in a world where systems collapse, with no consistent or predictable outcome... He now finds himself in a world where gravity lies. Where someone can be alive and then suddenly be dead. Where life can be done "right", and still end up in shambles, in shame, in unbearable pain. There is no longer an up from down. There is no specific protocol to follow that will result in specific consequences. The systems that the world puts in place lie...
I did everything the right way, and this is where it took me. I married a Christian man. I was faithful. We served the Lord... I worked so hard and overcame so much...
Like a cruel trick, her world disappeared. The world she once reached out and grasped had somehow vanished. And then watched as she fell on her face.
I lost so much... my life, my identity, my entire sense of being...
The church tends to say to broken people, Do this! and you will have this! Come to church, sit in the pew, make the right choices, and everything will be fine!!!
But Jesus looks at these broken people, people who've been thrown beyond the "system" of the church into a realm of true soulful brokenness, where a person knows his shame, she can see her sin, he can feel is fear...
And Jesus waits... This is VERY important.
Because in the waiting... Jesus is wooing.
The realm where earthly systems have collapsed is the exact place the living Jesus longs to meet us face to face. It is a place of intersection. Where the laws of the Spirit, of the kingdom of heaven, take over where the systems of this earth have failed.
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven... Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:3-10)
These are points of intersection where Jesus meets us in Person. No earthly system qualification necessary.
A broken person doesn't need the church to "fix" her with their earthly systems and how to's...
She needs help to stay exactly where she is, in a fiery furnace so hot she can hardly stand to be in her own burning and chaffing skin, and WAIT for an encounter with the living Saviour.
This is the hardest thing for the church to do. For the bereaved to do. WAIT. Wait in excruciating pain and emptiness??? Impossible!? Excruciating. WAIT. And trust that goodness will come. Not because of an earthly system of do's and don'ts, but because our Jesus is ALIVE. And he is still in the business of healing and restoring broken lives.
If you are uncomfortable with another person's grief, than you cannot be Jesus to them in that place. You will try to bring them out of the realm of brokenness into your "system" of "life laws" in which you are much more comfortable. Not understanding that your job is not to take them out of it, they are in the exact right place, a perfect place, right where Jesus wants them... Your job, the church's job, is to comfort and support them as long as it takes, in and through the fiery furnace. Wait with them. Help them to wait in their brokenness for an encounter with the living God.
"They" say to the "lost", You have to trust God!! But I am asking the church, Do YOU trust God?? Enough to let Him actually show up???