(I was honored to be invited to write a blog for my favorite website www.awidowsmight.org. Thanks Kit, I pray it will be a blessing to those going through grief.)
Comforting widows through the healing of the Lord Jesus Christ | Devotions for Widowhood and Grief
by guest blogger, Kathleen Beard
He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness.
He knows my wandering. He knows my times in the wilderness. I have thought often about the wilderness—finding myself there more than a few times.
Does He care that I am in this wilderness?
I had that thought so often when my husband was ill. Finding myself in the role of caretaker for this large, once strong, self-assured and hilarious man as he was disappearing into a place in his mind where I could not follow, was the most profound wilderness I had ever known. It was unchartered territory and it would shake everything I believed about God to the core.
Where was He in my wilderness? Where was He in that middle-of-the-night panic and fear? How would I ever recover? How was this thing “working together for good” as so many love to quote. What possible good could come out of such a thing?
Yet I was to discover that walking through a wilderness, Jesus had much of Himself to show me. I would learn that my wilderness was designed by Him, not simply to test my faith, but to show Himself faithful. As I traveled through it He showed me little by little the deeper, bigger plan that He had designed for me in the wilderness. Writing about it three years later, I began to see the bigger picture He was painting. It is an impressionistic picture—darks contrasted with lights; shapes and forms not painted in detail, just dabbed onto a canvas in splashes that when viewed as a finished painting shows how those vague splashes of pigment—the splashes of color next to grays and blacks—all come together to translate what the artist saw all along—he was painting light. And light can only be painted as it contrasts with dark.
In my wilderness, dark places that seemed to go on forever, were used to contrast with the brilliance of His painting of light. The finished painting is not dark at all; it has an atmosphere of light, shimmering as light does when placed side by side with darkness. God paints in contrasts. But it all ends up as light. Witness that ethereal moment after a rain storm when the storm clouds darken part of the sky, yet with a break in the clouds the sun bursts through creating brilliant, almost otherworldly, color and light. The light is bathed in yellows and oranges and reds; the trees and houses appear to glow. It is in that place where the rainbow will form, with the darkest of clouds as a backdrop. Staring at this scene, the eyes are drawn to that brilliant, glowing light, not to the dark clouds in the background.
Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. … Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen.
I knew you in the wilderness, In the land of great drought.
He knows me in the wilderness of my widowhood. He cares. He is painting Himself—the “Light of the World”—into every detail of my wilderness and as long as I am paying attention—fixing my eyes only on Him, drawing near to Him, choosing to believe when there is no reason left to believe, I will know Him at a level that I never imagined possible. When Jesus is painting light into my wilderness, I can run into that light; I can sit there and let it bathe me in its warmth and comfort, because it is He Himself who is the Light and He knows my wanderings in this great wilderness. There is life in His light.
Lord, my Bridegroom: You asked me to call You “My Bridegroom” when John moved to Heaven, and I didn’t know what that meant but You were all I had and I needed to know that You were going to be a Husband to me. Now, five years later I am astonished at the ways You have proven to be exactly what I needed in every wilderness trial. Lord Jesus, have Your way with my life; have Your way with my emptiness as well as with my fullness. Thank You for painting Yourself into my wilderness and creating something so unimaginably beautiful of this mess. I surrender all into the masterful painting You are creating. I love You, in Jesus Name and for Your glory. Amen.