Courage in Grief

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Whatever you do, you need courage.
Whatever course you decide upon,
there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.
There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I first began to write some articles, it was a slow and gradual process. I wrote on ‘Topics’ that were sometimes a bit controversial, they ran against the grain. Most of my life, I have been the ‘odd man out’ so taking such a stance wasn’t entirely new for me. Initial responses were usually encouraging. It didn’t take long, however, to develop a line of critics. In spite of it all, I continued because I wanted to give Glory to God in the midst of my suffering. I needed to do so. Writing became a release for me. I often don’t know precisely where I will be going with an article, I just write and pray for God’s guidance and for a listening ear. I will re-read an article and actually learn something from it for me, personally. Writing will often ‘pull out’ something from within me that I didn’t consciously know existed.

It’s not easy for me to be so vulnerable. I’m essentially an introvert, a very private person. Because of all of the abuse I have encountered throughout my life, I became a great ‘secret keeper’. I enabled many of my abusers because of the threats and the fear instilled in me. I also believed ‘love covers a multitude of sins’ so I kept silent. I didn’t understand, at that time, that abusers misuse and misapply that Scripture in order to protect their own wickedness. I didn’t understand that we are to be a ‘light’ in the world.

Ephesians 5:

11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose/reprove  them.

This, to me, is unpleasant. I literally physically tremble when I do such things. It does not come naturally to me. Perhaps, it is because of the abuse I have endured; perhaps, I am more comfortable with simply keeping my mouth shut and not rocking the boat.

I learned a saying decades ago in an abuse recovery group that I have never forgotten: ‘We’re only as sick as our secrets’. Of course, there is a need for discretion and discernment as to when, where, and with whom we break that silence. Breaking it, however, is important for the ‘Truth shall set you free”. So, although I tremble, at times, to speak it…I must. There is only one Truth that is not relative, and that is the Word of God. God’s Truth is absolute. When sharing it, I must pray. I need to know that speaking out is being done out of obedience to my Lord; I need to know that my motive in doing so is rooted in His Love. There is a bumper sticker that states: “Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes.” Well, I write because to speak God’s Truth is sometimes difficult, especially when I know that the recipient is going to lambaste me in their response.

Years of remaining silence, however, has taught me that I do so at my own detriment. I am not glorifying God by hiding in my cave and secretly praying that my life ceases to exist.

As a child, there was a show on TV called: ‘Captain Penny’. This is back when there was only black and white sets (only a few could afford color) and there were only three stations to chose from to view. Everyday, Cap’t Penny would repeat the same line:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

(John Lydgate)

I found ‘courage’ in speaking out when I decided that the Truth was more important than my fear. In spite of the criticism, and sometimes very angry and even hostile attacks I may receive in a response, Grief has taught me that I have nothing more to lose. Grief has gifted me with Courage, not in myself…but in God.

Psalms 118:6

“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”

Psalm 73

21 When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.

I will trust Him Who is sovereign. He is still on the Throne.

7 I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.’ (Is. 45). Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? (Lam. 3:38). If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it? (Amos 3:6). 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? (Ex. 4:11). 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—(Rom. 9).

I will not have the answer to ‘why?’ until I have crossed that Jordan River and entered into the Promised Land (Dt. 12:10). Until then, I will accept my lot in life as Paul had accepted his thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-10). I will carry my cross (Lk. 14:27; Mt. 16:24-26) With Job, I will acknowledge that God reigns supreme (Job 42:1-6). I will believe God is good (Ps. 146:1). I will believe God is Love (1 John 4:8, 16). I will refute the way the world chooses to see God, and instead choose to see Him as how He reveals Himself in His Word (John 1:14). I will wait for the revealing of His children (Rom. 8:18-23). Until then, nothing shall separate me from God’s Love (Rom. 8:38-39).

Job 13:15a

15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728  Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

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