It’s easy to fall into – the temptation to look like we have it all together. Most of us like to make life look easy – after all, Jesus said that his yoke was easy and his burden was light. We are Christians, and therefore infused with the joy of the Lord.
And it’s true – we do have hope. We know that God is with us in the valley of the shadow of death, but we are still in the valley. Jesus himself, who knew first hand of the love and hope of God, still asked for the cup to be taken from him. He wept at Lazarus’s grave, even though he knew his friend would be alive again in moments. Many times we read that Jesus was moved by compassion when he looked on the suffering of his people.
Suffering is a reality. Deep sadness can strike the most ardent of Christians. Broken relationships and interpersonal conflict are as real for followers of Jesus as for those outside the fold. Loss and grief are a reality of our existence, and the CBOQ family is vulnerable to tragedy.
On February 27, one member of our community, Kim McGuire, was killed in car accident. At just 22 years old, Kim was just beginning her life in ministry at Camp Hermosa, one of CBOQ’s associated camps.
“Kim McGuire worked on the Hermosa staff for 5 years running the office and acting as an assistant manager… She was always someone who had tremendous wisdom and maturity way beyond her years. She remained active in camp’s life, serving on the hiring committee the past couple of years, and working with the Leaders in Training as well… The Hermosa family is all still in a state of disbelief and, while certain of her home in Heaven, still deeply saddened… She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.”
(Adapted from an email by Scott Hadskis, Director of Hermosa.)
We can feel the pressure to cheer up, pull it together and move on, to trust that God knows best and continue onwards with our eyes fixed on glory. But that would not be a biblical response to sorrow. Whole books of the Old Testament are dedicated to weeping before the Lord. Lamentations, large parts of Job and most of the Psalms contain a heavy measure of difficult questions and pain.
Paradoxically, it is in these more challenging books where we can find one of our greatest hopes. Perhaps one of the most incredible things about having an intimate relationship with God is that despite our smallness and our sinfulness, we can still charge brazenly in to the holiest of holies shouting our angry questions, demanding answers and falling completely apart. He is big enough. He can take it. And what a relief that is.
In Romans 12:15, Paul said, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” And so, in this season of Lent, we mourn with the Hermosa staff and with Kim’s family. There are no words or pat answers that can make it better. Sometimes we are in the valley of the shadow of death.
Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave?
I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.