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For everything there is a season, and we must not rush through our need to grieve the world's ills. The agony of our souls cannot be ignored if we are to be full and compassionate human beings. God speaks to us through deep sorrow and we must take the time to listen.
When we are aware of the cruelty and pain that victims feel, we cry out, demanding to know "Where is God?" But somehow God is in the very humanity of victims, shuddering and aghast at their experience. God is in the strength of any who witness such agony and who respond with human compassion. Because God in Jesus suffered unfair cruelty and human pain, we believe that God is love. Our God understands grief and sorrow.
By patiently bearing the suffering of our friends here and neighbors around the globe, we learn about the depth of human experience. We are tempted too quickly to escape the realities of another's misery as we hope for relief or work for solutions. Like Job's friends, we must learn to sit quietly in the ashes. No one deserves to suffer, yet people do. Sometimes our work is simply to be a caring presence with those in agony, holding their hands with love and patience. Our physical and spiritual presence with others is the sign of "God with us." Our tormented prayers offer others God's healing Spirit.
Our anguish teaches us compassion that can be learned no other way. This wisdom comes only through the experience of enduring grief and carrying the needs of others in our own souls.
May God bless you with the comfort of the Spirit during these times.
Susan Classen, Vultures and Butterflies: Living the Contradictions
McNeill, Morrison, Nouwen, Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life
Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness, and Making Miracles
Phillip Yancey, Where is God When It Hurts?
To share how you work with and through grief, and who God is in the midst, see the Bulletin Boards.