No matter what has been revealed to the soul, or what the flesh repeatedly denies, until we are home, we are still in captivity. I continue to experience every and all aspects of grief. Grief comes to us all in many ways. We experience death many times during our short stay on earth. Death of a loved one, death of a relationship, death of expectations, dreams, desires, death of a season in life, etc. There are many encounters of grief. We are constantly being asked to separate from things in this life. And since we are made for Home, for security, for real Love, the more we try to hold on to things that appear sturdy. It is the soul's way of crying out to its Creator, her King, trying to seek His security and stability, His Love, in mere imitations. The soul may do this multiple times until finally her search ends when she finds her Beloved, the only unmovable, unshakeable, unchanging and mighty pillar, strong enough to be steadfast for all of her uncertainties, wounds, and fears. These encounters, while on this earth, may only last for a brief moment. She seeks so ardently for a mere glance of her Home.
This search in grief can feel daunting and even impossible at times. I saw three connections over the weekend. I remembered a part from the book called "Impact of God" by Fr. Iain Matthew. It is a book based on the teachings of St. John of the Cross. He reminds those who are seeking to remember, the seeker himself is being sought after even more so. He gave the image of a hiker who has gotten lost in the woods. He searches for help endlessly, but if one looks at the larger picture, one would see a helicopter and search teams looking high and low for the one lost hiker. So first thing to remember is when we are searching for a moment with God, He is actually seeking after us even more.
The second thing brought to me was this quote about the soul by John of the Cross - "Let her not fail to pray, and let her hope, in nakedness and emptiness, for he who is good to her will not delay." Jesus does not delay. He doesn't put us off until gets around to it. Or when he is tired of hearing us moan and groan. I must remind myself of the process of all seasons He has for us and His Divine time in all of it. To continue further with that in mind, the Gospel story of Lazarus was the third thing that came to mind as I continue to have my waves of struggle with God's time of calling Stella to Him. There are times those horrible "what ifs" won't seem to stop. I was so thankful as the Scripture literally appeared before my eyes. I went to read the story word for word. It's John 11:1-44. I will pin point what spoke and comforted me.
1.) Mary and Martha's brother, Lazarus, was ill. They were close friends of Jesus. They sent word to Him of their brother's illness. This is what the following verses read, "When Jesus heard this he said, 'This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God that the Son of God my be glorified through it.' Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to his disciples, 'Let us go back to Judea.'" The disciples asked some questions as they were confused by the situation. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing although he waited a couple days before going to Lazarus. So although he physically delayed the trip, He did not delay at all in God's timing for His glory. Jesus had already healed many sick. His followers had seen in thousands of times. He was to show them something much greater - the raising of a man who was dead for FOUR days. He was right on time.
2.) Mary and Martha met Jesus at different times when He arrived and yet they both greeted him with the same accusation. "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." He could have spared them days of grief. If Jesus arrived when Lazarus was ill, but alive, they would have expected the healing, no problem. Again, God's plans were much greater. He pushed His friends faith and partly because of that faith, He did glorify the Son of God and rose the brother from the tomb.
3.)Although Jesus knew what He came to do, He was still suffered profoundly with those mourning. It was noted that he was deeply moved, and actually had anger towards death and He wept. He experienced grief completely in that moment. His heart is so tender to His children even though He knows and sees all, the "bigger picture." I have grownn in more love of Him as He shows this about Himself.
So...the sum it all up. I see in grief when seeking the Healer, He is already ardently looking for me to heal. And although it may feel like he delays or didn't "get there in time", that is not true. His timing is perfect as He continues to do His Father's will. Asking questions is part of grief and the lack of understanding in our humanity and God's mystery. When Jesus comes, He comes to execute and glorify the will of the Father in us. And even when those "if's" arise, our powerful and triumphant God is not bound by ANY of the paths we think we could have or should have taken. He permits and does His will in each of His children, while we cooperate in it. And God makes NO mistakes. A soul's conception and death is neither too late, too early, nor a mistake. His gentle hand guides both the making and the taking.
Last of all, Jesus continues to suffer WITH me. He feels all of my pain inspite of the victorious outcome. He is an intimate Lover, this God of souls.