After losing our grandson David (after a 5-year cancer battle), I thought I was prepared for anything. Now I see that experience as a preparation, but I had to wade through the tsunami of grief after losing our daughter, to find the message from David’s life and loss.
When we got the call late at night that David likely had cancer, we prayed with our children, his parents, but as we waited for morning, tests, and final diagnosis, I fully realized there was nothing I could do. I imagine I am the typical Mom and Grandma in that I feel responsible to ‘fix’ everything. Though there had been many severe trials in life, this was the most challenging. My husband has such a complete peaceful trust in God that after we prayed he went to bed and was asleep in minutes. No way I could sleep, and I went to the treadmill to pray. I exercise to music and did not recall what I’d left in the CD player last time, so just turned it on, climbed onto the rotating track and waited for the music to take over the noise in my head. I couldn’t have been more shocked to hear the song that played. Phillips, Craig and Dean, “Come, Now is the Time to Worship.”
Now? Worship? I wept. I bargained. I wept. I pleaded. I wept and finally I chose.
Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are, to worship.
Come, just as you are, before your God.
One day every tongue will confess
You are God.
One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now.
Yes, I chose to worship.
David’s attitude of worship, took me along for the rest of his journey. It was obvious he and his parents knew what worship was, and I thought I knew too.
Now I realize I still have a lot to learn.
I tried to compare my reaction to our daughter’s passing. It was totally unexpected – a huge shock. We had some preparation and warning that David’s time was coming to release him to the Lord. With Laurie, there were only hours. Her sister, reliving the loss of her own child, and her brother became like parents for their heartbroken mom, comforting, reasoning, and yes, leading a very confused, devastated, and reluctant mom to worship.
I had assurance and peace about my daughter’s relationship with the Lord. I know I live in a fallen world and that sin and the consequences of sin are all about me. –Laurie even wrote in one of her emails I now treasure, Should we expect good and not evil? I’ve heard it before but did not understand until it came to me, that though I knew with certainty the truth of the scriptures, and Laurie’s belief in them and trust in Christ it was my loss, our loss, for which I wept.
God led several very special people to offer special prayer support. One I had met once years ago and now discovered she’d been praying for me since, some I’d known for years, two professionals I’d never met whom God told to contact me and pray for me. I did not give any of them an easy time of it. Some sent sections of scriptures that gave promises of life and seemed to mock my situation rather than comfort me. One dear friend sent me a packet that she felt I should read, and I threw it across the room. I still cannot hear worship songs without crying. Still through these dear people and God-engineered personal revelations, I had assurance and peace – for Laurie.
I had a book on Hosea – a heavy topic I’d avoided – Falling in Love with God by Bob Hostetler which became my guide, because I knew instinctively that that was what I most needed. To learn to worship again, if I indeed ever had known. It was a tremendously unexpected rescue.
Today, almost 4 months later, I just read a section of another Hostetler book where he explains how chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation, (another heavy topic I’d rather avoid) is actually about worship. It too was surprisingly an unexpected comfort.
My poor husband constantly hears my sighs and groans (Oh, God, Help). To me it was a constant reminder that I am far from having the peace for myself that I have regarding Laurie. Then I realize through these verses that worship is not about how I feel. Worship is not about any circumstance or check-off list. Worship is not absent because of grief. Worship is about focusing on the throne and the one who is on it.
These verses tell me that what feels like agony and constant cries of weakness to the one who is on the throne is worship.
Come, just as you are (grieving, weak and undone)
Before your God
Daily. Hourly. Every moment I feel the overwhelming loss. I come.
I come because I cannot exist without His strength.
I finally see it.
Now is the time to worship.