Living With Loss Archives 2012

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  • What to Say and Not Say to Someone Who Has Had a Miscarriage
  • Angel of My Tears (poem)
  • Just Those Few Weeks (poem) by S. Erling
  • Sorrowful, Yet Rejoicing
  • The Gate by Ruth Miller
  • Spending 10 Minutes in Heaven by David Maxson 
  • Can We Escape Physical Death? by Alan McNabb
  • Explaining Death 
  • Does God Know How We Feel? by Kevin Cauley 
  • When Sorrow Turns to Self-Pity by Gary Henry

What to Say and Not Say to Someone Who Has Had a Miscarriage

A miscarriage leaves a woman in a state of physical and emotional readiness for a baby that will never be. After reading several online support groups I'm amazed with the insensitive comments from women who have been pregnant and have borne children and have experienced this emotional readiness. They seem to forget the excitement and the hope and dreams they had for their unborn child, not to mention the love they felt for their baby. They didn't see the child in their womb as an "it" but rather as a baby whom they loved from the beginning.

I don't want to write what it feels like to have a miscarriage as I have not experienced that and I have no idea. I did surf the web and make a list of what to say and not say to a woman who has had a miscarriage. The following advice and experience is from real women. The thoughts contained in the parenthesis are a combination of my thoughts as well as women on the web.  -Pat 

  • The best thing to say to her is, "I don't know what you are feeling right now, but I want you to know that I am here for you day and night and that I love and care about you very much."
  • As for talking about the miscarriage, your friend may or may not want to. Some women don't want to talk and may withdraw from friends and family, preferring solitude. If your friend or relative is doing this, it may be her way of coping. Let your friend have her space, and don't try to force her to talk before she's ready. Consider sending a card or flowers to let her know you're thinking of her. You might offer to bring dinner over so she doesn't have to cook or, if she has other children, offer to watch them for a while so she can have some alone time.
  • However, there are other women who may want to and need to talk. If they do, listen. Don't lecture or offer advice, just listen and "weep with those who weep."
  • Allow tears, anger, feeling of guilt and communication. Don't judge or feel the need to correct, just listen. If anger is towards God, wait patiently until after emotions are expressed and kindly remind them of God's love and compassion but refrain from a long admonition when the grief is fresh. A gentle reassurance the miscarriage was not their fault is fine but allow expressions of guilt to be said as these thoughts and emotions should be shared with others. Often a griever doesn't always mean what they are saying, but rather emotions are pouring out.
  • Talk about the baby if the mother wishes to and call the baby by name if it was made known.
  • Encourage your friend to call you if they need anything of a physical nature (be specific) or if they just want to talk or need a hug.
  • Send a sympathy card and remember you don't have to say much just let them know you care and are sorry for their pain.
  • Let them know you will remember their baby and follow through with it. A card on the baby's due date or on the anniversary date of their passing.


  •  "You can always have another!" - They wanted this baby. He wasn't disposable and replaceable. He was a life, a person, their child. Would you say this to a couple who lost their 2 year old child? Of course not, then don't say it about a 2 month old child still in the womb. 
  • "Now you have an angel looking after you." (First of all, they wanted a baby, not an angel. This doesn't comfort. Secondly, let's speak what God has revealed, not our own ideas.)
  • "It is now at peace." (Let's try not to say "it," and wasn't the baby at peace in the womb? While all parents want their children who died to be at peace, this doesn't comfort as the parents feel such a loss and they want the baby with them. )
  • "At least you didn't get attached to it." (Of course they did! They also got attached to their future dreams.)
  • "It's for the best." (How do you know that? The parents believe that having their baby would have been the best thing.)
  • "I know how you feel." (Don't say this unless you actually do. Even though I lost my son at 33 years old I could not say that I know how they feel. I was blessed to have my son for that many years and the truth is, I don't know how it feels to have a miscarriage.)
  • "There must have been something wrong." (With me? With the baby? How do you know? This comment only adds stress.)
  • "Did you do something you weren't supposed to do?" (Come on...guilt is going to come naturally because that's what mothers do, even when it's not their fault. Let's not add to it.)
  • "Have you ever thought of NOT having children!?" (Well, yes, that is what I know fear. Do you think it is a comfort to come to that conclusion?)
  • "Be grateful for the children you have!" (I am, does my mourning for my lost child take away from my gratitude for my other children?)
  • "It wont happen again." (You don't know, so don't say things you don't know)
  • "Be brave,don't cry." (What?! Crying has nothing to do with a lack of courage. It is the release of grief. Period.)
  • "Get on with your life, this isn't the end of the world!" (To you it may not be, to me, right now, it feels like it. Allow me to grieve. I haven't given up on life.)"
  • "You should be over it be now!" (I lost my child. I will never get over it, even later, when I'm laughing and enjoying life my baby is in my thoughts.)
  • "You're young, you'll get over it." (I lost my baby. What does age have to do with grief?)
  • "Time will heal." (Time will make the pain easier to bear, yes, but right now I feel like my heart is going to burst.)
  • "At least it wasn't older." (Any "at least" at a time like this, is not the way to go. There are no positives right now.)
  • "God needed another flower in His garden," "God wanted him/her with Him," "It was God's will," etc. (First of all, who are we to speak for God? He needed that person? I can find scriptures that tell us the opposite, that God does not need man, but man needs God. I realize people say this thinking it's a nice idea but is any idea that comes from our minds that God never says about Himself, a nice idea? Let's speak as the oracles of God. What if you tell a non-believer that God took their child because He needed him? Would the parent in grief think, "Ah, so that's why. Now I feel just fine." Or might this non-believer think how selfish it was of God and if God created a being only to take it away because He needed it, there must be a weakness in God. God forbid! I hope to write an article on this topic soon. pg)
  • "Oh it's just not the right time." Show me a scripture that tells us God has a time table set us for each of us when to have children and when not to. There is no time schedule or fate idea in God's word. Period. Again, let's speak where the Bible speaks.
  • "God has other plans for you." Again, let's not speak for God. I, myself, would be afraid to. It's was God's plan for women to bear children. He did not create health problems. However, he does allow them as they have developed throughout time, and not by God's intention in the garden. I will say that no matter what trials happen to us, we all can fulfill God's plan for us to serve Him, love Him, and love others.
  • "Never give up on God, He will provide for you." This is a true statement, but not necessarily true that God will provide a baby. There are many righteous men and women who are not able to have children. It is not beyond God's power to provide a baby, but God has allowed "time and chance" (Eccl. 9:11  )  Let's refrain from talking for God. Also, the parents wanted this baby, no matter how many children they may have in the future.
  • "It was God's will, so there is nothing you can do about it. Stop sulking and get over it." Harsh is all respects.
  • "A friend wrote me a short sympathy card, BUT HAD to add...'God loves you and wants you to be's the devil that tries to take everything in your life..don't give in to the grief!' (Yes, all suffering, in one way or another, throughout time can be traced to the devil as God created all things good. However, this is not the time to talk about this and grief is not a sin. How did we ever get the idea it is a lack of faith to grieve?!)
  • Here are a few more quotes from the web. Some of the quotes I couldn't post because of their extreme insensitivity.
  • '...said, 'Oh didn't your mother have a miscarriage too?', "which I took as 'It must run in your family to be weak.'"
  • '....told me about a friend who had 7 or 8 m/c (was I supposed to take that as 'well if you think 1 is bad, so and so had 8. Or was it..'get used to it kid you might have 6 or 7 more.'
  • '...even said 'it wasn't a 'real' baby and proceeded to tell me the 'legal' definition of a 'real' baby.
  • I walked out of the doctors office having just had my miscarriage confirmed, my best friend turned to me and said 'being in the maternity section makes me want another baby. It's really hard seeing all the little babies...' I was so angry with how insensitive that was.
  • "You couldn't afford another baby right now anyway."
  • Please don't call my baby a fetus.
  • "Be glad you can conceive."
  • "You were lucky to even get pregnant"
  • "You'll see your baby in heaven one day."
  • Heaven is a much better place than this world
  • You'll do it right the next time (why, I did something wrong this time??). 
  • "Maybe next time you can take some extra vitamins."
  • The most hurtful comment was from my boss... She said "AWWW.. its OK, many people go through that, it's nothing."
  • "It" is not a "little problem," "a product of conception," "a mistake,"    ... "it" is a baby, my baby.


           Angel of my Tears
How do you love a person
who never got to be,
or try to envision a face
you never got to see? 
How do you mourn the death of one
who never got to live.
When there's nothing to feel good about
and nothing to forgive?
I love you, my little baby,
my companion of the night.
Wandering through my lonely hours,
beautiful and bright.
What does it mean to die before
you ever were born,
to live the lovely night of life
and never see the dawn?
Ah! My little baby,
you lived like anyone!
Life's a burst of joy and pain.
And then like yours, it's done.
I love you, my little baby,
just as if you'd lived for years.
No more, no less, I think of you,
the Angel of my tears.
                        ~Author Unknown


                 Just Those Few Weeks

For just those few weeks
I had you to myself.
And that seems too short a time
to be changed so profoundly.
In those few weeks,
I came to know you...
and to love you.
You came to trust me with your life.
Oh what a life I had planned for you!
Just those few weeks...
when I lost you,
i lost a lifetime of hopes,
plans, dreams and aspirations.
A slice of my future simply vanished overnight.
Just those few weeks...
It wasn't enough time to convince others
how special and important you were.
How odd, a truly unique person has recently died
and no one is mourning the passing.
Just a mere few weeks..
And no "normal" person would cry all night
Over a tiny unfinished baby,
or get depressed and withdraw day after endless day.
No one would, so why am I??
You were just those few weeks, my little one.
You darted in and out of my life too quickly.
But it seems that's all the time you needed
to make my life richer
and to give me a small glimpse of eternity.
                                          ~S. Erling


Sorrowful, Yet Rejoicing

"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (2 Cor. 6:10).


The stoic scorns to shed a tear; the Christian is not forbidden to weep. The soul may be dumb with excessive grief, as the shearer's scissors pass over the quivering flesh; or, when the heart is on the point of breaking beneath the meeting surges of trial, the sufferer may seek relief by crying out with a loud voice. But there is something even better.

They say that springs of sweet fresh water well up amid the brine of salt seas; that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest and most rugged mountain passes; that the noblest psalms were the outcome of the profoundest agony of soul.

Be it so. And thus amid manifold trials, souls which love God will find reasons for bounding, leaping joy. Though deep call to deep, yet the Lord's song will be heard in silver cadence through the night. And it is possible in the darkest hour that ever swept a human life to bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have you learned this lesson yet? Not simply to endure God's will, nor only to choose it; but to rejoice in it with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

 --Tried as by Fire



The Gate


 There’s a special gate all will walk through,

When the end of our life here has finally come due.

This gate’s the last remnant of our life here on earth

Patiently waiting since the time of our birth.


This walk we must do on our very own,

‘Tis the only passageway to our heavenly home.

Not everyone will be allowed to do this we know,

Depending on what one’s life has to show.


We have been given His written word to read,

And written quite plainly for all here to heed.

He states He is waiting for all who believe,

While blessing us well with all possible needs.


When our life is ended and our work here is done,

It is to this gate we will all someday come.

Standing slightly ajar, bidding us to come in,

To lead us to beauty, ne’er before seen by men.


The gate post is lit with an unusual glow,

You hesitate slightly, walking ever so slow.

Your mind becomes scrambled, you are unsure of yourself,

Hanging between two worlds, your life’s passing felt.


But you’ve come this far by your very strong faith,

And now’s not the time to hesitate.

You struggle with your past and a future with Him,

There’s really no choice but to enter within.


Your hand slowly reaches for the top of the gate,

Your feet start to walk at an uncertain pace.

An awesome brightness now comes into sight,

Eyes squinting tight because it’s so bright.


You let go of the gate as you hurry along,

Your heart strings are playing a beautiful song.

Oh yes . . . now there’s no doubt in your mind,

As the gate opens wide to a beautiful find.


The first view of heaven is amazingly bold,

You’re surrounded with beauty as all this unfolds.

Eyes slowly adjust to the heavenly view,

Words can’t describe this life here anew.


The colors are vivid with blends of all hues,

There is such a brilliance in all this to view.

His pastels radiant and are strewn everywhere,

His beautiful home for all saints to share.


There are crystal waters that freely flow,

Souls dressed in white with their perfect glow.

The great men of the Bible, smile as you view,

All the wonders of heaven just waiting for you.


Then comes the Master with his arms outspread,

He knows your past struggles, the life that you’ve led.

He speaks to you softly with His wonderful voice

And praising your life . . . you made the right choice.


You want to speak but the words just aren’t there,

You are so taken back by this place so rare.

He welcomes you home while holding you tight,

To share with you . . . His home of pure light.


Words fail to describe the beauty you see,

His love and care here for both you and me.

No more will be said of this beautiful place,

“Tis for your view when you’ve won your race.


There is a special gate all will walk through,

When the end of our life here has finally come due.

This gate is the last remnant of our life here on earth

Patiently waiting since the time of our birth.



 Written from thoughts of the mind,

By:  Ruth H. Miller

© April 21, 2012





Spending 10 Minutes in Heaven

David Maxson

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40

Ben (Hall) shared with us tonight (Sunday night) that he was making a personal challenge to spend 10 minutes in heaven every day this week. I'm going to join in this little exercise and I hope you'll do the same.

This practice is something the heroes of faith must have engaged in quite frequently. We cannot be sure what "heaven" meant to them, but there is no question they were focused on a future reward. I love this passage in chapter 11:

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking about that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (vs. 13-16)

When you read this passage do you see yourself, or do you feel (like I do sometimes) that you're a little too focused on this world? If we don't think as "strangers and exiles on the earth" as much as they did, I feel confident this little exercise will help us.

Closing my eyes at eve and thinking of Heaven's grace,
Longing to see my Lord, yes meeting Him face to face;
Trusting Him as my all where-so-ever my footsteps roam,
Pleading with Him to guide me on to the spirits' home!

O for a home with God, a place in His courts to rest,
Sure in a safe abode with Jesus and the blest;
Rest for a weary soul once redeemed by the Savior's love,
Where I'll be pure and whole and live with my God above!

 Opening the Door Daily Devotion/May 21, 2012


Can We Escape Physical Death?

Allan McNabb

CBJ, otherwise known as The Eternals, teach that an individual may obtain physical immortality thereby, never experiencing physical death. Many of you may have watched Day One's report that was aired on November 29, 1993. After watching the report, I wondered why anyone would desire physical immortality over spiritual immortality, or who would desire an eternal physical life with mankind over an eternal home with God?

It is not my desire to discuss the illogical views which CBJ holds such as one becoming their own Messiah. Neither is it my aim to discuss religious eschatological views which vary in certain aspects, but agree that eternal life is with the Lord. However, I wish to devote this article to uncovering Biblical teachings regarding eternal life.

Certainly one may readily see that the Apostle Paul did not desire to live one minute longer on earth than necessary to accomplish his ministry. In Philippians 1:21-23 Paul says: "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better." So, we see that Paul looked forward to death in order to be with Christ, but understood that it was beneficial, for his ministry, to continue until it be God's will for him to depart. We also learn from history that Christians, during and after the apostolic age, looked forward to death. They viewed death, not as an end, but as a gateway to their "real" home. Furthermore, they believed that physical life was a temporary abode. It has been recorded that Christians under persecution during the third and forth centuries were drug into courts in order to confiscate their property as penalty for refusal to worship idols. Upon entering the court, they were asked their address to determine what property they owned. Many Christians would infuriate the judges by replying that their home was the New Jerusalem.

Christians learn from the Bible that earth is not to be counted as a permanent abode, but temporary. We also should look to the day wherein we shall receive eternal life to forever live with God and Jesus. The Bible teaches in II Corinthians 4:16-18: "Therefore we do not loose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." So, Paul teaches that the physical body (outward man) and the things of the earth (things seen) are temporary, but the soul (inward man) and heavenly things (things not seen) are eternal.

Furthermore, Paul teaches that Christians are confident of their eternal home with the Lord. II Corinthians 5:6-8 says: "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." Therefore, the Christian's confidence is not is the vain and unsubstantiated words of mankind, but in the confidence supplied by God, in faith, that we have an eternal home in heaven.

God has blessed us with numerous physical blessings in this country. With all of these things which make life enjoyable and easy, it is no wonder that some may desire to live in the physical body for eternity. But, such desires are vain. Solomon, who teaches in Ecclesiastes that all of God's blessings were created for our use and joy, teaches that everything of physical life is vain. Therefore, we must structure our life in order to "fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecc. 12:13). And in so doing, we find true joy in the physical body as we serve the Lord.

The decision is yours. There is a time coming whereby "we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (II Cor. 5:10). And, "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement" (Heb. 9:27). Will you put your faith in man or God? If our faith is in God, we too may proclaim as Paul; "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (II Tim. 4:7-8)


 Explaining Death

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said,"Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side." Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know.""You don't know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?" The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said,"Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death,but I do know one thing... "I know my Master is there and that is enough."



"Comfort One Another With These Words"

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1Th 4:13-18)


Does God Know How We Feel?

by Kevin Cauley

“Daddy, do you think God knows how we are feeling?” were the words of my seven-year-old son, after we found our pet dog, Dallas, dead in the backyard on a September morning. It was the first time he had lost any living thing to which he had an emotional attachment. He was crying hard and didn’t know how to express his sadness. Yet, it was expressed in a profoundly common way. He wanted to know if God understood and cared that his little heart was breaking. “Yes,” I answered. “God knows exactly what you are feeling.” I wanted to cry along with him and did.

There are so many more tragic things in life than the death of a beloved pet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the feelings or emotions are any less real. And, in many tragic circumstances, people ask the same question, “Does God know how we are feeling? Does He care?” Yes, He does.

It would be a cruel, insensitive, and heartless creator that didn’t care about his creation’s well being. We have little sympathy for fathers and mothers that have no natural affection toward their own children. So also, a god that didn’t care for his creation would be no god at all. Of course, the God of the universe, the Creator and Giver of all life, cares about His creation. We’re reminded of God’s care for us in Luke 12:6-7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pence? And no one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” In the words of Civilla D. Martin, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

The bible also teaches us that we can carry our burdens to God in prayer. Just as we would talk to our earthly father and let him know of our joys, aspirations, and concerns in life, so also we may approach our heavenly Father. It is the privilege of every one of His children to be able to talk to Him in prayer as Father. Galatians 4:6 declares, “And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” When we approach our Father, we can then, as Peter tells us, cast “all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).

Perhaps, however, the greatest proof that God does indeed care for us is in the love that that He showed us through His Son, Jesus. Does God know what it feels like to lose someone dear to Him? Yes, He does, because God gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).

And Jesus, God Himself, experienced what it was like to live as a man. “For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” He knows what our feelings are like when we are sad, lonely, depressed, aching, despondent, and hurting. And He cares. He also experienced those feelings. Yes, God KNOWS what and how we are feeling.

What is sad, however, is that many will not turn to God’s Word as the source of true comfort. God knows each of us better than we know ourselves; so, God can tell us what we need to do to appropriately work through our strong feelings, without resorting to methods and means that would only deepen our unresolved problems. God’s Word has all of the answers to life’s problems; and, through our faith in it, we can overcome (1 John 5:4).

  • Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
    Too deeply for mirth or song,
    As the burdens press,
    And the cares distress,
    And the way grows weary and long?
    • O yes, He cares, I know He cares,
      His heart is touched with my grief;
      When the days are weary,
      The long night dreary,
      I know my Savior cares.
  • Does Jesus care when my way is dark
    With a nameless dread and fear?
    As the daylight fades
    Into deep night shades,
    Does He care enough to be near?
  • Does Jesus care when I've tried and failed
    To resist some temptation strong;
    When for my deep grief
    There is no relief,
    Though my tears flow all the night long?
  • Does Jesus care when I've said "goodbye"
    To the dearest on earth to me,
    And my sad heart aches
    Till it nearly breaks,
    Is it aught to Him? Does He see?


 When Sorrow Turns to Self-Pity

Gary Henry

“And Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me’” (Genesis 4:13,14).

ALL WHO LIVE IN THIS WORLD WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH SORROW. It is inevitable. In an environment where sin is a reality, the temporal consequences of sin are unavoidable — and since sorrow is one of those consequences, we shall have to deal with it sooner or later. The only question is HOW we shall do so. It’s important to keep our sorrow from turning into what is called “the sorrow of the world” (2 Corinthians 7:10). This is the sorrow that wallows selfishly in its own misery. It does not confront sin in a godly way.

Two things are needed to keep our sorrow from turning into self-pity: REVERENCE and GRATITUDE. When we are passing through any bitterness of spirit, we must maintain a humble respect for the greatness of God as our Creator, and we must not cease to thank Him for all that is right, despite whatever has gone wrong. Even when the sun is shining, we find it challenging to be as reverent and as grateful as we ought to be. However, when the darkness closes in, keeping our thinking clear about God can seem so difficult that we despair. We give in to the “the sorrow of the world.”

Failures of reverence and gratitude should be seen as failures of perspective. When pain focuses our attention on some small part of reality, we tend to lose touch with the larger truths. This is no trivial thing, however. If we refuse to acknowledge the WHOLE truth about God, that refusal can cost us our souls (Romans 1:18-21). God is greater than our woes, and whatever the immediate cause for our sorrow, we simply can’t afford to forget the clear tokens of God’s greatness and goodness in the wider world.

Edmund Spenser wrote of the miserable fellow who finds himself “dying each day with inward wounds of Dolour’s dart.” The sorrow of the world is deadly because it indulges in self-justification. It fuels resentment and resistance to God. Like Cain, the self-pitying soul feels no genuine remorse for evil. He merely whines, “My punishment is greater than I can bear!”

“He lies pitying himself, hoping and moaning to himself; he yearneth over himself; his bowels are even melted within him, to think what he suffers; he is not ashamed to weep over himself” (Charles Lamb).

November 2017