“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each… offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord has said: “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.”‘ And Aaron held his peace… ‘Why have you not eaten the offering? ..You certainly ought to have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.’ And Aaron said to Moses, ‘Behold,.. such things as these have happened to me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would the Lord have approved?’ And when Moses heard that, he approved.” Levitivus 10:1-3,17-20
“I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.” Psalm 69:2
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me.” Lamentations 1:12
I awakened to news that took my breath away, cloaked all the world in grief and sorrowful wonder, and opened floodgates. The death of friends’ vibrant daughter snuffed out any semblance of regularity in routine, as starkly as her life here on earth is no more. Emotions tumbled into turmoil: bleak imaginings, a torn heart, weeping like a river, unrecoverable loss, the “nevers” that are now inescapable. This is but a glimpse into lives forever altered by unimaginable grief. Struggling to go through morning motions, we find them upended and twisty; and days continue with strange meaning we cannot understand. “Such things have happened.”
And Mighty God, Who reigns on high, knows this. Our Savior, Who wept at death and its unalterable effects, and was Himself a man of sorrows, is nigh in every shock and blow of grief. He Who holds day and night and numbers every breath keeps order when our lives have none. (Job 14:5; Psalm 74:12,16-17; Isaiah 53:3; John 11:35)
Our peace in such times comes from knowing that our Lord God reigns in perfection, that none of us knows the number of our days. “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” How could Job say that, how could he bow and worship after all his children were killed and he’d lost his livelihood? Only because he knew God personally, and that if He was good, then all He would do or allow had the imprint of ultimate good. It did not feel that way, but it was true. While he choked for breath, God gave air. Much of life is a mystery we will not understand this side of heaven. Here we see in a mirror dimly, and we groan, and long to see fully. (Job 1:20-22; Romans 8:23-28; 1 Corinthians 13:12)
God’s people survive grief, but survive changed. Changed by the gift that was, and because it was taken.
Father God Who daily bears us up, when You take us through fire and water to bring us to Your place of abundance, may we cling, and trust, knowing You gloriously redeem all such things as happen to us. (Psalm 66:12; 68:19)