My quiet time study this morning took me to the book of Joshua in the Old Testament. Chapter 3 continues the sequence of events after the godly leader, Moses, had died. God had now placed Joshua in the lead. They had been commanded to move forward. The priests who carried the ark of the Lord led the way as they were instructed to cross the Jordan River. This was a daunting a task, since that time of year found it to be at flood stage. How could they possibly accomplish success in their journey?
We read “Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away…. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.” (Joshua 3:11-17 NIV)
God worked a miracle in allowing His people to cross and move forward on dry land when, if left to human abilities, they would surely have been swept away and their journey halted. Friends, those traveling through grief can make progress this very same way!
While we attempt on our own to leave our loss behind, all too often we find ourselves overwhelmed and thwarted in our efforts. There is no escaping the sadness and pain of grief. However, we can learn much from what was accomplished in the scripture I just quoted.
If you look carefully at the verses, the priests’ feet actually touched the water’s edge. They weren’t given the ease of watching God move the waters first before they crossed on dry land. These people had to act in faith as they moved ahead into the messy and flowing waters. Only then was the path cleared.
We too must trust God and place one foot in front of the other even when it looks like we are going to collide with the failure of a dead-end in our lives. Moving forward does not mean we leave behind the memory of our loved ones. The value and joy they brought to our lives are not forgotten nor negated. In fact, as we have faith and place one foot in front of the other, trusting God to make a way for us, we are better able to cherish their memory. Time spent with our loved ones will remain in our hearts and minds and we will eventually be able to enjoy reliving those moments without as much pain.
Focus on how you can move forward in your grief journey today, if only an inch at a time. Little by little, you will look back and realize that with the help of others and through the strength God can provide, you have made progress in your journey.
Until next time –