Today we visited First Alliance Church in Worcester. It was a cross between the severely conservative First Baptist Church up the street and Crossroads Christian Fellowship. Everybody was quite friendly like at Crossroads, and they sang songs I knew (not all hymns), but the pastor prayed thanking God for President Bush and his faith. Some definite conservative leanings. The sermon was on the beatitude “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Well, he went on to say that the mourning referred to was a deep, gut-wrenching, whole-body/mind/spirit sorrow: just what I’ve been feeling. Sorrow that has made me want to curl up and just weep. The pastor was a little loud for my taste, but he went on to explain that we were mourn for our sin and for the sin of others even more than we would the death of a loved one, and at that point God would provide not just happiness but deep contentment for us. Well, it’s hard to imagine feeling so sorrowful about anything as I feel about not having Ian here with me. But I suppose that’s part of growing up in Christ, too: we start as kids, and small things seem important to us, and as you get more mature you begin seeing more and more of the big picture. It still seemed like God moving in my life, though, to guide me to that Alliance church and hear a sermon on the value of mourning. Additionally, everybody was very nice and welcoming as most small East Coast church people are. You get the feeling that they so desperately want you to come back, and that if you did that would completely make their day. In fact, during the announcements the pastor mentioned that “We have two new guests today…” and asked our names right there and then. Hahah, good thing everybody was so nice, because even so it was still a little on the strange side!
I don’t know about the mourning. I’ve grown up hearing that God uses pain to “grow us,” as a pastor would say. Is this like having to do homework to actually learn something? Or that you wouldn’t know joy unless you knew sorrow? Why, if pain is so good for us, did God create humans with such a strong aversion to trials? It takes a complete mind change to be able to accept the pain God gives us to carry: how did James reach the point where he could say “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”? I’ve read that verse over and over, and though my life has been blessed for the most part, trials have come to me. How to perservere? I think the whole goal of these trials is not to force me to be a stronger person, but to bring me to a point where I can give up, accept that I am weak and that I need God’s strength in my life. To this point I think I’ve been trying to walk alone when in reality I need Christ to carry me. Carry me, because I can’t even force myself to eat a normal amount (what is normal?) to keep strength in my body, let alone survive here alone with the stress of having Jess here and enduring long, uncomfortable silences, all on top of “losing” my husband. At least I will see him again, and I get to talk to him. People can’t seem to understand what it’s like; but God does, because He gave part of Himself – Jesus Christ – and let him not only leave the Trinity but was separated by death for a time. Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit, evenwhen I want to ask “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”
– KF –