Mourning into Joy

I’d like to start this post by officially saying hello to all the people who have started following my blog as a result of my being Freshly Pressed for my article on the Noah movie. Though I’m aware that all of the 300 or so people who now follow me don’t necessarily read or care about any of my posts, I am thankful for each of them. That blog was polarizing, yet simply the result of me not wanting to write a book in a Facebook post, so I realize that the beliefs of some who now follow me are probably as different from mine as night is to day. I accept this, I love this, and I thoroughly appreciate dialogue with those who are different from me.

All of that said, I started this blog almost two years ago as a way to deal with the death of one of my best friends.

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The months following June 9, 2012 were some of the most gut wrenching, horrible months of my life. In those months, my heart was torn irreparably and I almost quit on my relationship with God. At the time, I couldn’t grasp the concept of a God who loved me in the face of such horror.

So I wrestled, I fought, I studied, I begged him to help my unbelief.

I begged him to remedy the hole in my chest and help me to trust him with all the pain I held onto. My only comfort was in memories of my friendship with Jordan, and even those were laced with an emptiness I still cannot fully describe.

And Jordan’s words always haunted me, the ones about trusting God, no matter what. The ones about those he loved and the Savior who longed for them, and his own grief at the suffering of others.

I screamed at him in anger, in desperation. And as time went on, God revealed himself to me in many ways, he comforted me, heard me, gave me hope when I had no words left. He gave me the strength to be a light to others and remind them that it is okay to be a broken mess, it’s okay to not have all the answers. He showed me his sovereignty in all things as he lovingly placed me in situations where my story could help heal others. And that is power of the God I serve!

I have thought a lot about a God who would allow suffering, and I don’t have every answer to those questions, but I know and believe in a God who put himself in the center of suffering as a loving, comforting Father who rested above it and as a lowly Son who took the full brunt of suffering and drank in every ounce of a wrath I deserved.

I am by no means so deluded that I believe I have moved past the grief of losing a friend, so I concede that I am a work in progress. I by no means understand God’s ways and reasoning for everything. I miss Jordan terribly, I see his family’s pain and I still wonder why. But that isn’t for me to know.

I know where I stand as of now, believing that the love of God is stronger than anything I could ever imagine. I know the peace of Christ that passes all understanding is real. I know that the Holy Spirit is constantly present. I know that I am not alone. Perhaps one day I will be able to articulate all that I’ve learned since June 9, 2012 with eloquence and wisdom I don’t yet know.

That said, the purpose of this entire blog that I call Panic, Preacher. Panic! is to point to the God who stands above all of our suffering with open arms. He isn’t on the other side of our tragedies waiting for us to claw our way to him, yet he is right there in the middle of it with us. I don’t claim to be able to convert or convince those who might disagree with me with a few posts on a website, but I stand firm on the premise that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. He is the only peace in this world. He is our only hope.

If you’re reading this, know that you are loved. Your pain is not your undoing, and in many ways it is your redemption.

If you’d like to read more about how I’ve dealt with grief over the years, you could try reading here, here, here, here, and here. (I’ve hyperlinked them so you can click the links.)

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”-Romans 12:15

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Author: panicpreacherpanic

I am not good.

10 thoughts on “Mourning into Joy”

  1. Hello 🙂

    I found you on a list of blogs WordPress thought I’d relate to, based on my blog’s topics and tags. It takes bravery to make your journey with The Lord public…for it’s there that it becomes tangible and imperfect. You’re definitely not alone out here. Be encouraged! God bless.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I firmly believe, to borrow from the Apostle Paul, that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, so it’s generally best for us to boast in our weakness, rather than our strength. There is no freedom in saying “I did this all myself,” all that does is leave me chained to my own inconsistencies. Thank you for your response and I’m very blessed to be in such good company and know that, even though I don’t know you, we are family in Christ. God bless you.

  2. We need more people willing to stand up and share their faith. We need people to talk about how God has touched them. I have a hard time doing this and I am not sure why. I do know that God has been there for me, always. Whether I knew it or not. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that in my experience, speaking about God’s action in our lives is difficult in a public forum simply because it doesn’t come naturally. In fact, everything in me wants to talk about the good and the bad from a purely naturalistic view because I am prideful. It’s always all about Stephen and to break from that, I need to shift my focus away from myself and onto Christ, which isn’t my “default setting,” so to speak. I’d much rather lift myself up on a pedestal. But I find that ignoring those impulses and speaking from the heart about what God has done and continues to is a good way to break my own habit of silence on lasting matters.

      I always tell my friends and family and those I work with in ministry that Jesus is the only desirable thing in me, and it’s got to be my life’s work to make him the only thing I desire, or I’m living for nothing that lasts. And that mantra doesn’t always reflect the truth of my life, but it is a standard I set to live up to and that I can only do with the grace of God empowering me.

      Thanks for your response May God bless you tremendously and enable you in boldness.

      1. Thank you for such a heartfelt response. I keep plugging along and acknowledging that Christ is in the lead. I am getting better speaking in public about my beliefs, the more I do the easier it seems to get. Though it does feel forced sometimes. I think church and fellow Christians help considerably, they are a constant reminder that Jesus is the one I should be looking to.

  3. I had to laugh at your opening line. I found you through the freshly pressed Noah post. I thought it was awesome. So I stuck around. I also liked your moniker.
    Thanks for sharing the challenges of leaning into the relationship with God.

    1. Thanks, Wendy! It was a shock to me that that post got so much notice, but I suppose that sometimes happens when you sound off about a hot button issue. Why it was such a hot button issue, I’ll never really know!

      The moniker comes from a lyric from the Christian metal band, “The Chariot.” I got into listening to Christian music on the heavier side of the spectrum in high school initially because my parents hated it, but eventually grew to appreciate the lyrical quality of so much of it. The line, “They all stare, but no one seeks.They all claim, but no one speaks. They all hear what they want. Panic, preacher. Panic! Beware the costumes of sheep of wolves’ lies” stuck with me and I figured a condensed version of it sounded cool for a blog title. Incidentally, it was my friend who passed away that got me into the Chariot in the first place.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Praise God for you. Continue walking by faith, brother. Thank you for sharing this experience of yours. It truly helps someone who has battles, too.

    1. It is my pleasure to share. Some days I feel like I’m bursting at the seams and have to get the words out, jumbled though they may be. We all struggle, we all suffer, but God meets us where we are and sustains us when we’re close to falling out.

      In Christ,
      Stephen

  5. “man cannot live without an island.” thank you for sharing your experience. I’d realized something that we people can share our problems to our friends and always Trust God..

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