Archives For loss

“You can’t prepare for a sudden impact. You can’t brace yourself. It just hits you out of nowhere. And suddenly, the life you knew before is over forever.”

Those were the closing words of last Thursday’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” And while I wouldn’t describe myself as a regular watcher of that TV drama, I couldn’t help but consider the profound truth of that statement — and the many people who, through anguish and tears, can testify to that. The journey of life does not come with a universal early warning system. Sometimes life can go from perfectly sunny to dark, stormy, and chaotic in just a split second.

There are, in fact, millions of stories — all of which represent actual people — that bear evidence of sudden impact. Just in the past year or so, you and I have witnessed a number of them in our own lives or the lives of someone we love. Many things can cause sudden impact, including: auto accidents, plane crashes, storms, earthquakes, fires, health issues, unanticipated deaths, miscarriages, loss of jobs, murders, suicides . . . The list goes on and on.

During my time in ministry I have walked with many people through ‘sudden impact’ situations.

The shock.

The horror.

The grief.

The devastation.

The despair.

And sometimes, the long road to recovery.

The truth is that if we live long enough, we’ll experience our share of sudden impacts. There are three key principles that are helpful to remember:

1. God is God, and we are not. He is sovereign and in control. He is never caught off-guard. While the things of this life often leave us shocked, dismayed, and disheartened, God sees the bigger picture. What’s difficult at times for us to accept is that we may not be able to glimpse much of that bigger picture this side of heaven.

2. God can be trusted to provide strength and comfort to the broken-hearted. It’s often in those moments when time seems to stand still that His presence can most be felt. Scripture tells us that His grace is sufficient for all our needs. What I’ve come to realize through the years is that He gives us more grace at the time we need it most — not necessarily before then.

3. God is always worthy of praise and thanksgiving. No matter what struggles we face or how deep our heartache, God’s indescribable gift of forgiveness and atonement through His Son, Jesus Christ, makes Him absolutely and forever deserving of glory and honor and praise — regardless of what this life throws our way. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church at Thessalonica, penned these words:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV

Perhaps you stumbled upon this post by chance today. I choose to believe that nothing in this life happens by chance, but rather, that God in His omniscience knits things together according to a perfect plan that only He can fully understand. Whether you’re recovering from a sudden impact in your own life — or perhaps about to experience one — God alone is the One on whom we can cast our cares, because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)

How have you experienced the grace of God in your own times of sudden impact? What other traits of God can you testify to during times of difficulty?


Did you like this post? If so, you might also enjoy these previous posts:

Fear Not!

Nine years later: Where are you now?

4 keys to a Christ-centered ‘doomsday’ response

When Holidays Hurt

December 16, 2011 — 3 Comments

Those who know me can attest to the fact that I absolutely love the Christmas season. Really, everything from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day is just fun and festive. I enjoy the music, the lights, the parties, the food. I just like it all.

One of my dad’s favorite Christmas songs is Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.” For many this year, the holidays are proving especially challenging — even blue, as the case may be. I know a number of people who have lost loved ones and are spending their first Christmas without a spouse, a child, a mother, a father, a sibling, a grandparent, or a best friend. For those who are grieving a loss, Christmastime can actually exacerbate their feelings of sadness and loneliness. Many of these people will make a brave effort to carry on. They may have managed to haul out the decorations, put up the tree, and listen to some festive music, but it’s just not the same.

The very memories that comfort can also evoke a deeper pain. Little things the person never even thought about before are now right at the forefront of the mind. They run across an ornament that held special meaning for their loved one, and their eyes begin to water. They hear a silly Christmas song that used to drive their loved one crazy — or a sappy movie often shared together — yet somehow this year that memory just underscores the sense of loss. They cook — or are served — a favorite holiday food their loved one just couldn’t do without, and it just doesn’t taste the same. During times like this we often discover a profound truth: The things we thought we loved most were really only loved because of the ones we shared them with.

There are many firsts that are hard to handle: Continue Reading…