Thursday, October 23, 2014

When Christian-ese Grieves the Grieving...

Do you see all those pictures?

All I did was Google, "God has something better," and instantly...hundreds and hundreds of similar images.

You might wonder why I even bothered Googling that. I saw something on the internet that made me wonder.
See that picture with the Jesus-looking guy asking the little girl for her Teddy Bear?  She is telling him how much she likes it, but she just can't see that he's willing to give her the BIGGER, BETTER Teddy if she'll just trade.

Seems innocent, right?

I mean, who of us, whether we attribute it to God or the universe or sheer luck, hasn't once said, "Man...if such and such hadn't happened, then I would never have done/met/gone (fill in the blank)," when they think of how differently things could have played out?

I've said it.  If I'd stayed with that boyfriend...If I'd taken that job...If I hadn't changed that major...

I've said it and I think we all have said it, and more, I've said it giving thanks to God for allowing something better to be in my life.

But friends.  Please.

Let's be real.

The LAST thing a person of faith wants to hear, as his or her heart is aching, is, "Oh...but God's got something better!"

Because you know what?  SOME things are not comparable.

Sure.  There are better jobs.  Better places to live.  Better hobbies in which you can engage.

But--and listen to this very carefully, I beg you....

When it comes to losing a loved one...there IS NO better loved one with whom you can replace.

Using that example of Jesus just asking the little girl to trust Him with her little Teddy so He could 'bless' her with the bigger, better Teddy?

Let's see how that sounds:

Your mom died?  Hey.  God's got a BETTER mom waiting for you.
Your spouse died?  Hey.  God's got a BETTER spouse waiting for you!
Your child died?  Hey God's got a BETTER child waiting for you!


(Are we in agreement here that those statements sound RIDICULOUS????)

Trust in Jesus doesn't mean that you may have to relinquish a little control or something you love in order to get a BIGGER reward.

Trust in Jesus means that you have to be willing to stand there...with the most amazing Teddy you will ever hold.  The one you waited your WHOLE life for.  The one you dreamed about and couldn't imagine your life without.  That one.

You have to stand there and give it to Him.


Because you promised that you would.  When you promised to follow Him and love Him and trust Him, you promised you would.

No matter what.

Even if the bigger, better Teddy never came.

Or the ones you loved with all your heart were gone forever.

You have to be willing to accept that giving Him that Teddy means that you'll NEVER live life again the same.  You may get lucky enough to be given other Teddies to love and cherish, but there will NEVER be the one you gave Him again.  And He wouldn't ask you to accept another as bigger and better because the VERY heartbeat He put in each little Teddy is PRECIOUS.

And Purposed.


I'm pretty sure there is no doubt that Luke is the most amazing human in our lives.  He is our breath and our heartbeat.

But he was NOT the "Better" that God gave us because Matthew died.

He's just like his brothers.
A miracle.  A blessing. A gift.

I'm not saying that the Grace of God doesn't deliver us and provides for us even when our own choices may prove non-advantageous.  I absolutely believe He is merciful and I am SO grateful.

I'm just saying that if we constantly, as Christians, use this Christian-ese, we are doing two things very poorly.

1) We are not tending to grieving hearts.  Jesus did not tell Mary and Martha, "Hey. I've got something better for you!" when their brother Lazarus died. No, Jesus wept.  WEPT.  He was so, so sad to lose His friend and for Mary and Martha. He grieved and He grieved with them. No, "Keep your eye on the prize and just trust that I've got something better coming."  If we are to love people like Jesus, then by golly, let's love them like Jesus!  Cry with them.  Ache with them.  Hurt with them.  Love them; don't offer platitudes that will fall on deaf ears.

2) When we use that model--"Just trust that this disappointment is leading to a bigger reward!"--we are STEALING from Jesus!  Yes, STEALING His power.
        "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” II Corinthians 12:9

When we are asked to give up the Teddy with NO promise of a bigger and better Teddy, we are at our weakest.  And that, my friends, is when His power is made perfect.  Not when He's giving us the bigger, better Teddy.

When we are broken, poured out and left wanting.  No beloved Teddy, but a Jesus who tells us, "My Grace is sufficient."

And then, lovingly proves to us that it is.