A good friend of mine asked, “How are you doing in recovering from your father’s death?” Which made me wonder. Recover. Is that what I’m trying to do?
It certainly is a common expression, and it’s even the goal set forth by several groups that specialize in grief. These groups offer to steer you through a course of activities to help you “recover.”
I know what they’re trying to say, but I think using that term is leading me in the wrong direction. The fact is; I will not recover my father. And my life will not return to where it was before he died. Recover seems to be the wrong goal, not only because it’s impossible to achieve, but it seems to imply that I want to undo everything and pretend it didn’t happen. If I believe that God is sovereign, and has specific purposes for everything that happens, then I’d be at odds with God if I really wanted to undo it.
Truth is, there have been many things that I wish I could undo, but as a Christian, I must trust the character of God and his purposes. Scripture teaches us that a great work is being done throughout human history and each of our lives is a piece of God’s magnificent plan that will reveal his glory.
Imagine the epic story of all history is a jigsaw puzzle. The “piece” of your life is unique. It has an individual shape and color pattern unlike any other—it is very important. Without your piece, there would be a hole in the puzzle. My dad’s piece has been completed and has now been fit into the position where it’s meant to go. His work is done. His piece fits perfectly into the big picture. The details of his life, even the most difficult moments, now make sense when seen as a part of the whole.
No. I don’t think recover is the goal at all.
Rather than trying to get back the equilibrium I had before the loss, I should be striving in faith for the new level of maturity that God wants to produce in me. The puzzle piece that is mine alone will continue to develop the color and shape that it is meant to have. I will not be the person I was before my dad died. Instead I will work to cultivate Christ-like character with the help of this very difficult moment.
By God’s grace, I will grow through grief.