James 4
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

I remember falling to sleep last night still feeling sad. Several things happened during the evening that brought small smiles, bits of encouragement, a few laughs, but the truth was still the same when my head hit the pillow.

Nick is gone.

As I was lying there trying to pray, trying to “look at the bright side,” trying to remind myself of all of God’s promises, Tim, I believe, was doing the same thing. From time to time one of us would breathe in that deep breath that comes from grief and then let out a sigh of sadness……I read somewhere that those deep breaths and heavy sighs are actually part of the grieving process.

Finally, we fell to sleep.

I had a dream in the night about Nick.

He was in the living room and he was almost perfectly well! His skin was tanned from the sun and he was so happy.

I remember looking at mom and saying, “People aren’t going to believe this! This is a miracle!”

I woke up this morning, and at first I didn’t remember the dream. But as I lay there for a while, it came back to me. I smiled. Nick had been with me. Smiling. Walking. It was such a wonderful dream.

So, as I crawled out of bed to take our dog out for his little morning routine, I knew I had a choice to make this morning.

I could stay in my sadness for another day, or I could get on my knees and give my sadness to God for today knowing that another day will come when this choice isn’t as easy for me to make.

See, some days grief takes over. It swallows you. Manipulates your thoughts. Your actions.

Other days you wake up and feel a determination inside of you that screams,

“Grief….today is mine not yours.”

I felt that determination this morning, and so I went to God with a different kind of prayer. Not a prayer of sadness and moaning, but a prayer pleading for strength and purpose.

I’m reading several books at the same time right now. Three of them deal with grief. In one of them this morning the author talks about feeling as if he were chasing the sun as it was setting and not being able to get to it before it disappeared over the horizon after losing his wife, mother, and daughter in a car accident. He goes on to say that his sister told him that actually the sunset and the sunrise eventually run into each other if you keep running and that the quickest way to the sunrise would be to run into the darkness towards it. So he determined to run into his grief and face the darkness. I loved that thought.

Another author talks about that fact that what we need most while grieving is grace from God. As one of my friends so often prays for me….grace, grace, grace. He shares the Scripture I have above. And sure enough! Just as I had felt the need to be on my knees this morning, that is exactly what he wrote about.

Humbling myself before God, so that He can lift me up!

Yesterday, my laughter changed to mourning. My joy to gloom. Today, I am asking God to

“Lift me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. Set my feet on a rock and give me a firm place to stand.” (Ps. 40:2)

In my Bible reading this morning, God told Moses to go to Pharoah and “to be sure and take the staff that had turned into a snake.” I thought that was a strange thing for God to say, as if the staff had some power God had to have present in order for His works to be made known.

But the more I sat there and thought about it, I think it was more for Moses than for Pharoah. Moses needed something real, something to hold on to, something to remind him that his power did not come from himself but from a Higher Source. The staff was something for Moses, as a human, to cling to as he faced the mighty Pharoah.

Today, I have to face the mighty world of the living. It is my Pharoah.

As I do, my prayer is that I will remember Who I am holding on to. Jesus is my staff. I must remember to take Him with me.

It is a choice I have to make.

Choosing Jesus,