I read this question and wonder, how in the world could the children of Israel ask “Is the LORD among us or not?”. It was so bad the place was named after the question – Massah, and Meribah. I mean, really, the people had seen all of blessings and miracles of the Lord. The plaques through-out Egypt, protection from the first-born dying, parting of the Red Sea – walking on dry land, the Egyptian army being destroyed, Manna from Heaven, pillars of clouds and fire in front and back of them, on and on they saw the Lord working among them, yet they grumbled to the point they tested God- “Is the LORD among us or not?” Hey, they are just like me!
I ask the same thing as I travel along through this journey. Is the LORD among us or not? Where are you LORD? During these times I need to look back and remember the blessings I have seen along the way. Oh, I know, Jesus said not to look back, right? – Luke 9:62 “But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”” – doesn’t apply. Time after time we are told to remember what the Lord has done for us. We are to repeat it to our children and grandchildren. We are to examine ourselves and examine everything carefully also.
I really thought things would be different. I was so hoping our family would not be separated by our grief. Working in a law office, I have seen the things that can destroy the unity of a family because of the stress of death. We loved the Lord and we were such a close-knit family. We served Him together in different ministries and enjoyed spending lots of time together. I thought we would be okay despite the warning of my husband. I thought we would understand what each other was going through and be there to support each other. I mean, each of us has a different perspective – loss of a wife, loss of a mother, loss of a sister/best friend, loss of a child, loss of a friend – each with a different grief process. My son-in-law may get married again, some will gain another best friend but a mother, sister and daughter will never be “replaced”. It’s a forever loss.
Don’t get me wrong, we are not fighting or being ugly to each other at this point. We just don’t talk like we should. I am thankful to be closer to my daughter-in-law – who I love dearly and has been such a blessing. There are others who have shut me out, been hateful, or said things that are really hard to forgive. Mostly, the extended family/friends but not all. At times I have been hurt to the very core of my heart by people who say “I love you” but their actions show otherwise. It is hard for me to be around them. I have put up a shield from being hurt any further. Not good!
While some have decided they are “over it” and “it’s time to move on”, they have not made an effort to help or support those of us who are on an up and down road of grief, weeping, joy, laughing, and hope. Selfish desires have overcome to the point that the very priorities in life are out to order. I have “friends” and “family” who are encouraging them without thinking about what they are doing. Within all of this turmoil, the easiest thing to do is remove yourself from people – put distance between yourself and them – become hard hearted-or lash out in anger. Once again, not good!!!
It’s hard at times to treat others the way I want to be treated. It’s hard to forgive those who think they have done nothing wrong. It’s hard to forgive those who are causing strife and confusion within our family. It’s hard to forgive those who want to interrogate everyone but never go to the source. It’s hard to forgive and to give it all to God. But, I must. In order for Amanda’s death to not destroy my witness for God, I have to let it go and open my heart.
I can only answer for myself, I cannot change anyone else, I cannot be the Holy Spirit to others. I have to live my life the way Jesus has instructed me to through His Word. I have to leave a legacy of faith for the living, my children and my grandchildren. I have to be concerned with what I am teaching them. I have to spend time with them, telling them the goodness of God and how He will see us through. I have to help them not harden their hearts. I am responsible for me and the gifts God has given to me. I have to answer to the LORD for me. I have to remember the past and look forward to the future.
YES, the LORD is among us! He has always led me along the straight path, I cannot give up and I cannot give in! I am not alone – “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deu 3:16