That blows me away when I think of that - it really does!
I think back on my own life and family and some of the worst times in my life and how I have survived and been blessed by God. True! it often hasn't been a bed of roses, life has been hard and even cruel, tragic and tearful and yet here I am praising God for even those terrible times.
Probably one of the hardest things to overcome is the death of a child or spouse - The closest I have come to that horror is the death of my little sister at just one year old.
It had such a tragic effect on my Mum and Dad and to the day they died they never forgot her and we all grew up knowing that a tragedy of immense proportions had happened to our family.
We were reading just today in Psalm 49 of how death finds everyone no one is exempt and no matter how may riches we may have, they will not mean a thing when it comes to that final day. All our riches, family, friends and accumulated 'things' won't actually mean a thing.
Another loss that I guess we all have felt is when family or friends forsake us for no apparent reason. We go through the same universal stages of grief that we experience when someone dies.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying" asserted that there were five stages of loss and grief. Now whether you believe her or not at least the first two stages are worth looking at, for I feel we can all learn something from her finding that can help us in our Christian walk.
First we have DENIAL - "They haven't left us - they will be back" symptoms. Often we are unable to take it in. This happened to me with our immediate family - it was a slow but distinct withdrawal of affections - a very cooling attitude at first then nothing.
This person didn't physically leave, they are still around. Sometimes I feel it would have been better for me to cope if they had left altogether, but they changed in their attitude and nature, isolating all around them, except their own family and pushing everyone else to the edge.
Then we have the ANGER stage and probably this stage is the one I want to spend a little time with. Anger with the person for leaving us or changing toward us is unfortunately normal and one where we are completely at odds with our Lord.
Anger needs to be replaced with love. A love far beyond our feeble minds to grasp and yet it's recorded in the Bible just how much Jesus loves us and He calls us to love as He does.
When I read that I found that impossible to take in. Love like Jesus does? I couldn't and I wouldn't.
I was content with my anger - it smothered my hurt and transferred it to the person that had pulled away from me - I was happy being the angry one - after all I had cause to be.
I struggled with their leaving me - I struggled with their absence of affection that friends and relatives share and I struggled with God when I have been prompted to try to make it right.
That's when the Holy Spirit convicts of things that are wrong in our life. I really didn't know what to do or how to react in this circumstance, all I knew I was overcome with emotion and yes! anger.
That's when I prayed "Lord: Give me a love for others."
We may not ever understand why these things happen to us - Why we are left when our child dies or why we lose our spouse or best friend. We may never understand why our friends or relatives pull away from us and become cold and distant.
Often after praying, the answer that seems to come back to me more that anything is "I don't want you to know WHY - I just want you to walk by faith and keep trusting me after all my grace is sufficient for you."
So here we are left with a plea to the Lord: "Please give me a love for others."
I have proven it over and over, A love the same as Jesus had? Impossible? I would have thought so but God has proven to me that we can indeed love as He does and He is so willing to move that love to us. An amazing gift and one where we can share with others.
God bless you this week as you come to terms with a love that passes our very understanding. A love so deep and true that enables us to love the unlovely things that happen to us. A love that crosses the boundaries of separation and abandonment.