Learning to Grieve (part 5) – Beauty for Ashes

SONY DSC                     Isaiah 61:3 has been an especially meaningful passage to me this last week, “[He will] give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”  For the Christian there is always the promise of hope in the midst of grief, there is always the expectation that God will give beauty for ashes and will restore the years of famine.

The fact that Christians are able to grieve as those who have hope is one of the principle things that distinguishes us from the world.  As Amy and I sat through our recent IEP, I couldn’t help but be struck by the sense of hopelessness in the room.  There was no appeal to the greater plan of God, no thought given to the mercy of God in blessing us with a child who has some special needs, no mention of God whatsoever.  I certainly don’t begrudge the school system for their approach to an IEP, but one can’t help but notice the fact that life under the sun is full of grief and full of tragedies and without a Christian world view, we ultimately have to chalk all of the suffering in life up to nothing more than chance.  But life lived under the Son and His Father’s rule is full of hope, even in the midst of tears.

One final thing that I’ve learned through this process is the fact that grief is not a destination, it is a journey.  In our case this journey will almost certainly come with recurring reminders of the path that we are on.  Those reminders will come in the form of IEP evaluations, difficult questions about Micah’s future, his career, and a hundred other things we probably haven’t even thought about yet.  There’s no doubt that this will be a difficult journey for us as a family, but I believe that this path is actually a gift of grace.  This is a path that I have never been down before and because of my unfamiliarity with the terrain, I will need to stay especially close to my Guide who has already experienced the deepest form of grief and yet rose from the dead to offer hope to those who grieve.

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November 04 2010 04:00 am | Devotional and Learning to Grieve

4 Responses to “Learning to Grieve (part 5) – Beauty for Ashes”

  1. John Ruhlman on 04 Nov 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Dear Buel and Amy: This is just a note to let you know that Nancy and I love you and are praying for you during this difficult time with Micah and the IEP. In our extended family and life experiences we too have been there! Your beautiful blog about the hopelessnes of people without Christ and our confidence in a soverign God was precious. “…we sorrow, not as others who have no hope…”
    Just know that there is an old couple in MV who are with your family all the way. We want to “bear one another’s burdens…” with you.–John and Nancy Ruhlman

  2. Drew on 05 Nov 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks John, that means so much to us!

  3. Bernie Andringa on 05 Nov 2010 at 8:50 pm #


    Count me in as one more “old guy” from MV who will pray for Micah and your family, specifically that God’s will would be done, and that ultimately God will get the glory in whatever the future may bring in his young life. Even when we can’t make sense of it all, it’s comforting to know that God is in control of all things. This is what helps me to sleep at night, even as I continue to feel the loss of Andrew on a daily basis. I have you to thank in large part for being able to rest in God’s sovereignty in all things. Thanks for the reminder.


  4. Drew on 06 Nov 2010 at 8:46 am #

    Thanks Bern, you’re a really good friend!