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“You should come back. He is passing away.”
As I ended the phone call with my dad’s hospice nurse, I knew nothing in my life would ever be the same again. The time between my dad’s diagnosis of lung cancer and death was a mere three-and-a-half weeks long.
I spent many moments leading up to this one – praying and asking God to give me the ability to be present with my dad, to soak in each and every opportunity to serve and love him. I spent just as much time worrying and anticipating how many more moments I had left.
How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? – Psalm 13:1-2 (NIV)
I find much solace in the words of David – in his questions and thoughts as he processed with God. How grateful I am to have the opportunity to read about how others invite God into their lives, even in the hardest of circumstances. I continue to ask God these same questions as I try to process my grief and create a new normal.
It is easy to give in to the consuming thoughts that surround loss. The harder work is found in acknowledging and processing through those thoughts.
Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall. – Psalm 13:3-4 (NIV)
I love David’s vulnerability and urgency as he asks God to give him anything to alleviate the heaviness he felt. I love David’s honesty when he asks God to look at him – to see him in his pain. I want God to see me too. I want to find the light too.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. – Psalm 13:5-6 (NIV)
My favorite part of this psalm is how David finishes. He honors hard things and invites God into those things, but ends by telling God how he trusts Him. He remembers the good things in his life too. I had just seen my dad an hour before I received that phone call. While he was already gone by the time I arrived, I rejoice in knowing our last words were, “I love you.”
What would our suffering look like if we talked with God like David did? How could our hope and spirit be renewed if we prayed boldly? What areas of our lives can we invite God into?
How grateful I am to carry this gift of my dad’s last words with me for the rest of my life. I will remember this in my grief-filled moments of wondering where God is. I will honor how terribly hard life can be as I ask God my questions. I will trust that God is closer than I know.