We’ve had so much loss this summer. First, it was my friend from high school. I had not stayed in touch, but it was frustrating to me that I hadn’t. I should have kept in better touch and I didn’t. After that, it was one of my very best friends. I’m still having a hard time even believing she is gone. I drive by her house often and think I should pop in, just to remember she isn’t home. And most recently, my cousin. This one is very hard. He was young. We grew up together. Our family is very close and I haven’t even really started processing my feelings yet.
God has been reminding me though that Jesus experienced loss too. In fact, I would say this most recent death of my cousin was very similar to when Jesus heard about his cousin John. His reaction was to step away, to pause, to pray.
Matthew 14:12-13, 23 “John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone…”
God has been using this time to teach me about pausing. Instead of getting angry, pause. Instead of getting sad and reacting, pause. Take some time and submit the situation to God and then, through His eyes, you will be able to know what is right. You will be humbled, and humility is the place where God’s peace is born.
Ancient Faith ministries explains this in their article Why Does God Humble Us. “St. Isaac tells us that this continual beginning again, this daily dying to ourselves, this inner or hidden crucifixion is how we submit to God; and in submitting to God, we acquire humility. Humility then is the manger in which peace can be born in our hearts, and peace calms the passions.”
I had a moment of this recently. My sweet son is so gracious. I was angry though and I was lecturing him about something stupid. He was so overwhelmed and shouted back at me. “Accidents happen, you know!” I stepped back. I took a breath. I walked away. I went upstairs and started folding some clothes and praying. I just needed a moment to process what was going on and how I was feeling in that moment. Angry, yes. Disrespected, yes. Hurt, yes. But not even five minutes of my fuming to God passed and I heard a meek knock at the door. “Mom?” I didn’t answer, feeling justified in my rage. “Mom, I’m sorry I yelled at you.” Woosh…and just like that I was humbled and flooded with God’s grace and peace. How can you stay angry at a person who repents? God certainly doesn’t. I threw open the door and hugged my sweeet boy. I kissed him and told him I am so sorry that I was frustrating to him. I want to be respectful to him and he needs to do the same to me. He agreed. We’re human. We’re trying to navigate life together and we’re learning about doing to others as we would have others do to us. I’m learning these lessons too. I could have continued in my anger and lecturing, but that would be my pride. God used my 8 year old son to humble me and that is what brought the peace. It started with a pause.
Luke 14:8-11 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
In grief, pause. In anger, pause. In hurt, pause. In any situation, when anger or hurt or reaction is close to the surface, pause. Step away and submit it to Christ and watch. He may just come through and humble you so that peace can take its place.