When huge pain comes into your life—like divorce, or the loss of a precious family member, or the dream of wholeness shattered—it is good to have a few things settled with God ahead of time. The reason for this is not because it makes grieving easy, but because it gives focus and boundaries for the pain.
Being confident in God does not make the pain less deep, but less broad. If some things are settled with God, there are boundaries around the field of pain. In fact, by being focused and bounded, the pain of loss may go deeper—as a river with banks runs deeper than a flood plain. But with God in his firm and proper place, the pain need not spread out into the endless spaces of ultimate meaning. This is a great blessing, though at the time it may simply feel no more tender than a brick wall. But what a precious wall it is!
As a father, I want to help our twelve-year-old daughter Talitha settle some things with God now, so that when little or big losses come—and they will come—her pain will be bounded and will not carry her out, like a riptide, into the terrifying darkness of doubt about God.
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