Unwanted Silver Linings

Recently I was trying to encourage a dear co-worker of mine who had recently lost his younger brother to cancer. It was the first time I’d seen him since the funeral and I was doing my best to delicately love on him during the oh-so-awkward-after-the-funeral-but-before-reality-really-sets-in time. It’s a hard season right? Hard for the family, hard for those who come alongside them-

In this case, this young boy knew Jesus well, so there was more joy that sorrow to be had… and his family remaining on this side of heaven knew it. But even with the joy of hope for a reunion, the immediate grief and life-change of losing a loved one isn’t necessarily dampened. It’s still hard-

I found myself switching into my ‘nurse-mode’ midway through the conversation. Having been an ICU trauma nurse for many years, I’ve been at the death bed of more people than I care to count… it was, by far, the hardest part of my job. Yet the experiences have been invaluable to me in helping people see Jesus through even the very darkest of times. Losing a child, a spouse, a dad, a grandmother… none of these losses ever get easier. Loss is supposed to hurt. It’s an unfortunate by-product of Eve’s wayward decision way back in the Garden of Eden…. separation… loss… death. All these things are so very hard.

They’re hard because we aren’t designed for such things- not originally at least. Our hearts and souls were made for unity and union with one another (with God in particular). Originally our lives came with complete relationship and fellowship with God and each other. There was time. There was no end in sight. The horizons of humanity’s perspective were clear… pure sunshine all the way to the ends of the earth. But then came the fall of man and death, decay, separation. Storm clouds quickly blocked the endless view… and just like that- time now was tethered to the finite.

Talking through some of this with my friend, I did my best to give him permission to rest and even take some joy in the end that had come. For so many families who’s loved ones spend days, months, even years deteriorating into death, often the sense of relief when ‘it’s finally over’ can be palpable. Health workers see this all the time- the unexpected and seemingly ironic relief at the end can be almost as overwhelming as the grief that accompanies the loss. And that is okay. The confusing mix of emotions often turn into guilt for many though; the sigh of relief, the letting down of the defenses, the whole night of uninterrupted sleep, returning to ‘normal’ life and maybe even taking a vacation… in short, unwanted silver linings within the clouds appear. Strange as they are to behold, these kind of silver linings are okay to look at. I needed to tell my friend this… he needed to hear it. He needed someone to give him permission and know it wasn’t dishonoring or moving too fast.

God puts silver linings in our lives, often during the darkest of storms, to remind us that He’s still in control. That His sovereignty will still win the day. Even in death… especially in death.

Because what we need to know, what you who may be reading this needs to know… is that God has placed the ultimate silver lining in our lives.

Christ’s death was no less traumatic for his family and friends- the agonizing hours, the torture, the watching and waiting for Him to breathe His last. I imagine there was a collective sigh of relief when He did finally give up His spirit… if only in thanks that His suffering was over. I cannot imagine how hard those hours would have been. For those who truly thought Him the Messiah, I assume this Man’s death was unbearable… without hope, without peace, without purpose, without meaning. For those moments which turned into days after Jesus’s death, I imagine the darkness of the clouds that surrounded all of humanity were impenetrable.

But then…. LIGHT! Literally, physically, spiritually! Christ rose from the dead! By His death and resurrection we now have the ultimate silver lining. The silver lining that bridges the brokenness of our separation from God. The silver lining that restores our union with the Creator and cuts the tethers of time, releasing us back into the infinite.

We may not want Him. He’s okay to want though.

We may not see Him. He’s okay to look at.

We often refuse to acknowledge the silver lining in our lives. But dear one, He. is. there. A silver lining piercing over the darkest of clouds, the deepest of despair, into the depths of depression, shame, or guilt.

By His death… we can live.

And that, my friends, is a silver lining worth embracing!

Dear one, if you need to take hold of this silver lining, please do so! Jesus is waiting to show you life- better, abundant, full. Please go here to find out more!