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What Silence Can Say

Whenever I think of grief, I have this visual image of feet walking through deep heavy muck. Muck is this thick, heavy ground that’s sticky and smelly and wet. Every step you take is hard. It takes so much energy to move forward, using all the muscles in your body to simply WALK. It’s frustrating and exhausting. 

That’s grief. 

Your mind, body, and soul all take a hit. 

It's the hardest of all the hard feelings.

Job was in the deepest muck. Exhausted and depleted, he had to take a break. He sat down with his friends and rested in his grief. It says in the second chapter of Job:

“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words” Job 2:13

They sat in silence. 

They went 7 days without speaking because words could not do what silence could. It's where God’s presence sits. It’s in those quiet moments where we are fully dependent on Him being near. We breathe slower. We disrupt the thoughts in our mind that can pull us away.  We begin to see things clearer. It’s kind of like sitting in a dark room. It’s unnatural and unnerving.  And the holy spirit is like an oil lamp in the corner that is slowly being turned up. Our eyes start to adjust and we begin to see the room we occupy.  Without the Holy Spirit, we are tripping and stumbling and scared. Without the silence, the Holy Spirit can’t remind us that we are not alone. 

And Job wasn’t alone.  He had his friends.

For seven days they kept Job company, knowing they couldn’t say anything adequate enough to help their friend feel better. But they knew they couldn’t leave their friend alone.  There is a term in the palliative care field called “holding the space”. It’s when a nurse helps support families who have a loved one transitioning from this life to the next- they support the family from a distance, intervening only when the family asks for help or needs questions answered.  Its when unconditional love and support are there, quietly in the background, waiting for those in grief to reach out.  

Job’s friends held the space. They stayed close. They didn’t interject with opinions and solutions, they just kept themselves NEAR. Ready to catch Job when he felt like falling. 

If there is anything that Job has taught us, is that grief is hard and messy and life-altering. The stages are exhausting and feel never-ending.   But take heart in this season.  The Holy Spirit is near... in the scary and unknown. He shows up every time to bring comfort to your heart.  And find people who will hold the space. To bring you support and love, and to be there when you can’t do it alone. 

When I think of the times in my life where I have grieved, I had to work SO HARD to remember that I was not alone. It feels SO isolating.  But through my tears, I prayed “GOD, thank you for walking through this heavy muck with me. Every day. Every second. Every step. This is really hard and I hate it but thank you for not leaving me. Thank you that you promise that my weeping only lasts for a night. I can’t wait for my joy.  I can’t wait for this to be over, but I also can’t wait to look back and see how you strengthened me in this time.  To have learned that walking through the muck made me stronger.”  He brought beautiful people around me to hold the space. And they are still my people.  I hold it for them and they hold it for me.  The body of Christ is one that is POWERFUL. 

My friend…You are NOT alone. 

God weaves His goodness into every story. He shows up every time.  He has a beautiful redemption story in store for you. And that story will change lives. 

Rachel Shipman

ARH Staff Writer

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