Grief because of Changes
Chapter Two, Part Three
The Art of Forgiveness
Another significant reason grief and the need to let go comes to us is because of a change brought about in our lives.
I watched my Mother undergo numerous changes when she was 59 years old. She had lived in the same neighborhood for nearly 40 years when my dad died of cancer at the age of sixty. So, not only was Mother grieving the loss of her 40 year marriage, a year later she moved into a ‘new village of people.’
While moving isn’t something I love, I know how to do it. In about the same number of years that my mother lived in the same neighborhood (40 years), I moved 12 times. I don’t mind packing and unpacking, but move “day” is not always a happy experience. That’s probably because we didn’t have the financial resources to hire movers. The change of the move brought about many losses and much grief.
Plus, even in the new place, there were necessary adjustments that had to be made.
Because Mother had not moved out of her neighborhood in 40 years, she had to decide what she would ‘keep’ and what she would ‘get rid of’. Even though she is not a pack rat, there were still many decisions that needed to be made.
For many people each decision causes loss that brings grief. The good news is that she knew where she was going to live. She bought a new home that she had toured several times before she moved.
At the time of Abraham, he didn’t have that option.
In Genesis 12:1-5 we learn,
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.”
Talk about grieving a loss! Abraham didn’t have a map. He had no GPS. He had no idea where his new home would be located.
All he knew is that he lost his country.
He lost his family that he would never see again.
God directed him each day, so he had no knowledge of the ultimate plan.
He did not know where he was going.
He traveled with a caravan that included all his belongings.
He did not know how they would find water.
He did not know where they would find food.
I’m sure, that he grieved when he left his family. When he made this move he was 75 years old. So, for 75 years he had lived in Haran. I’m not sure how a 75 year old man could make that journey. The straight line distance from Haran to Canaan was (is) 7,568.9 miles (http://distancebetween2.com/haran/canaan).
Did I mention he was 75 years old and he was either riding a camel or walking?
His grief because of his his loss came about because of a change. Sometimes, accepting changes requires letting go and surrendering (forgiving) to God everything we’ve known. In Abraham’s case, God had a great plan for him, but when Abraham packed up and moved he didn’t know the details of that plan. Abraham’s surrender would have required an enormous amount of trust.
It may be strange to think of letting go and trusting God through the act of forgiveness, but when we are required to let go of all we’ve known we need to reconcile it with God.
That’s because we are human. We have feelings. We get scared and God is asking us to trust Him to walk us toward the unknown. That requires faith and trust on our part. It also means we die to our old life and our old self. Choosing to say yes to God means we are choosing to let go of what we’ve known.
In moments like that, choosing God means we accept the unknown. It means we accept what tomorrow will bring. It’s a defining moment between us and God.
It requires a form of forgiving the loss of our old life and accepting the unknown of our new life.
Whoever and whatever you are letting go of (forgiving) means you are accepting your new life to come. You may not know what is coming, but you accept what God has for you.
Well, as it turns out Mother has moved a few times in the last 33 years since she moved out of the old neighborhood. I’m not sure she’d say she loved each move, but each time she trusted that God had for her at her new place. At 93 she says she’s okay with what tomorrow brings.
She knows that God is in charge and she’s okay with that.
Recently God ‘gave me’ Isaiah 41:10 as a promise. It says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I’m not sure why, but the Spirit was very strong and I think maybe changes are coming in my life. I shed a few tears but I’m okay with letting God be in charge.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Let God BE in Charge
Whatever changes you face today, let God be in charge.
In God, Deborah