It’s probably just me, but I don’t recall seeing the sunshine while coping with the worst of my grief. Days seemed chronically cold and dreary, the air was almost too thick to breath. I couldn’t seem to focus on anything that wasn’t held in my hand. Nights were long and restless, interrupted by the reoccurring nightmares that made the thought of returning to my pillow truly unappealing.
Periodic waves of depression swept me back to the soul-destroying loneliness that had in-prisoned me for longer than I cared to admit. I wanted so badly to believe that some blessing lie beyond my grief but the prospect of finding it had all but vanished.
Realizing that the question of “Why” would never be satisfied, I moved to the next question; “What now?”
Pretending seemed like a good plan, it sheltered me from being caught in the uncomfortable position of having to justify my faith. While I was able to convince others that I was “moving on” I couldn’t persuade myself. I was bitter and angry—continuing to pretend only fed my downward spiral and pushed me further from any hope of recovery.
My finite mind insisted it must have been someone’s fault, but it certainly wasn’t mine. God had to be held responsible, His supremacy should have been able to trump any free-will move of man. Where was He? Was He even real—or are we all just soulless creatures living without lasting purpose and dying without eternal promise?
I forced myself to rethink my whole concept of faith and how I was supposed to identify with this God who broke my heart?
I challenged Him, “Prove you exist and I’ll worship you.”
He challenged me back “Worship me and I’ll prove I exist.”
I wanted a usable, feel good idol, but He refused to be held captive within the boundaries of my personal design. God asserted His authority and wouldn’t broker with me for my devotion. He offered Himself, the unchangeable God of love and mercy—and who would know love and mercy better than a God of authority and justice?
I surrendered—simple as that. I stopped asking questions for which I’d never find the answers. Peace returned as I once again came to value the same things God did.
Twenty-three years have passed since Jacob and his companions were killed in Mexico. Small waves of grief occasionally return—but they no longer overtake me—they only serve as a testament to how much I loved Jacob.
Writing my memoir—Back to Tonic—was not only healing for me, but also for many readers who have struggled as I had.
God’s faithfulness throughout my bitterness is a testament to His patient love for us.
I’ll still grieve Jake’s absence, but I can see out beyond the deluge. God really is good.