One of the terms my grandfather used for this world after my grandmother passed away was “This vale of tears”. Gramps was a pretty cheerful and easy-going guy but Grams passing knocked a lot of the wind out of his sails. He didn’t curl up and die exactly but he just wasn’t the same after her death.
I think there are few who can relate to the pain of losing a spouse after 61 years of marriage but each of us have life events that rock our worlds in foundational ways.
I remember during one of my own earth shaking events a well-meaning brother walked up to me in church and asked, “How are you doing J?”
“I am OK.” I answered ( I wasn’t really but then the moment wasn’t right for a sit-down-and-cry).
His response was to wrinkle his nose and say, “Just OK? Not fantastic?”
The brother knew what I was walking through at the moment and I was a little… no a lot flabbergasted by his insensitivity. But I didn’t haul off and clock him, Pastors aren’t supposed to do that.
Instead I simply said, “Sometimes, brother, OK is good enough.” Then I went to my office and had a sit-down-and-cry.
Can I just say that sometimes it’s Ok not to be “good” or “fantastic” or even “OK”. There are life events that are just so wrong or hurtful that it is OK to not be OK for a bit. Further it is OK to think and feel that your situation is definitely not OK. While God may work all things together for good not every situation is good, in fact some situations just suck.
We have had four deaths connected to our church in the last week-and-a-half, six in the last month. Today I prayed with two men in church who wept through the entire service. What they are walking through is definitely not OK and I wouldn’t be OK if I were in their shoes.
Hope isn’t found in pretending that everything is coming up roses while your really sitting under a pile of manure. Hope is found when we realize that though we may be walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, God is with us through all of it.
Brother…Sister, It’s OK to admit that it’s not OK right now. In fact admitting that to yourself and others is the first step in moving to a better place. Being honest about where you are now is part of figuring out how to move beyond it. Here’s a song to help you in your meditation this evening.