God, will you meet me here in my grief?
It is just a dog, an animal, but my heart is heavy with sadness. I sobbed, standing in the cold November air, looking at her body curled around laying empty on the brown, green grass. The air is cold, dark, and speaks of loss in the stillness. Even the chickens in their coop cluck a little softer. The sweet companion we had loved for eleven years, who loved us with an unconditional love, lay cold and hard on the ground. My husband gets a shovel, the kids crowd the window to say goodbye.
It is too cold and muddy for them to walk out to the yard in their Sunday best to say goodbye. Instead, one last pet at the window is sufficient. She was never their dog, she was always mine. Its ok. They loved her, in their simplicity, and with a little apathy, but I was the one she chose to sit with each evening. When Jason worked the late hours, she would sit facing the door, watching for him to return.
We buried her under the apple tree in our yard. Beside the chicken coop and near the fence. The fence she would run, protecting the border of our home. On that cold Sunday morning, we came home from church, and regrets filled my heart as we found her under the porch. I cried there, in my fall dress and brown shoes standing in the gravel path which led to the fence. My hand covered my mouth and the sobs just came.
God, I asked a few hours later, will you meet me here in my grief?
I heard the truths I knew to be true, echo empty in my heart: God is faithful. His compassion has no end. The steadfast love of God endures. So this love, I asked for it on that day I wept for a dog. The night before she died the wind howled. The trees were holding on to their colorful robes of brown, yellow, orange, and red. The next morning, after the huge gusts of wind ripped through the Appalachian valley, most of the trees were bear, empty and read for winter. It was fitting. It looked so bleak and lonely, just like my heart.
She was just a dog. I know, she was not a spouse, a child, a mother, or a father. And many are suffering much deeper and harder griefs than mine. But she reminded me, death is always a breath away. It was her time, as much as I regret not taking her to the vet instead of going to church that morning. God knew and he saw that sweet dog pass away.
God, will you meet me in my grief? The big grief. The small grief. The moments when my heart is sad and weary of this world full of sin and suffering. God, will you meet me here? It was the week of Thanksgiving she died. I had been reading Psalm 75, and God met me there in that chapter.
“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks for your name is near.” Psalm 75:1
In the midst of sorrow, I will give thanks to the God who is near. His name, a breathe away, will meet me here. What are you grieving today? God will be near, seek out His voice in the pages of scripture. God’s name is only a prayer away. God will make all of the sad untrue on the day of His return. We can rejoice in this amazing truth, even when sorrow and grief threaten to drown us in our own tears.
I think about the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. When Mary and Martha’s brother died, Lazarus, Jesus wept. As He walked up to the tomb, a reminder of grief, sorrow, and loss, Jesus entered into their sorrow and wept. He does the same today. Jesus will meet you in your grief.
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