Chapter 3

Settled

Maybe the gospel writers used few words to describe the moment Jesus gave up His life because there aren’t enough words. What words would have sufficed? Three hours of otherworldly darkness escorted the King to His death. And when His time had come, He cried out with a scream so unusual, so transcendent and powerful, not only was the temple veil torn, but the Earth quaked and shuddered at the crime. The juncture at once declared history’s preeminent triumph, and unrivaled grief.

Whether there were dark hours leading up to your spouse’s last breath or not, you are familiar with the internal scream. Your world has quaked, and a seismic fault now runs through the foundation of your life. But amidst all the crumbling and dust and silt, the same God who created it all is the Rock of our salvation and can set us on a firm foundation.

I grew up in California, so I know what it is to live through an earthquake. I know what it is to feel small and helpless and unable to stop the ground from quaking and the walls from closing in. When we built our first home, it was important to begin with a foundation that would stand the test. Our friend Roland is a contractor, and we enlisted him for the task. Because the build began in the middle of winter, he had to pay special attention to the condition of the soil before setting the foundation in place. To support a structure the soil must be settled, or the foundation will fail and the home would be compromised. If the solid ground is disturbed, great care must be taken to compact it again before building. Much depends on the magnitude of the disturbance and severity of weather patterns in the surrounding area. The greater the shifting of soil, the greater the time needed to level it and make it suitable for building.

The settling of grief under the foundation of your life has begun, and there is so much to consider. The seismic shift beneath you requires time to settle. Be patient; let it settle. The future security of what you build depends on the stability of the ground around your life. Rushing through this time will be detrimental.

 

Just like the intentional planning for a foundation, take intentional time to grieve. Do not bury the debris of your grief below the surface; it will degrade over time, and your house will shift and crack. Be patient; God will sift it for you. And while you wait, stay inside His love, where everything you need for healing is within reach.

Do not stand on the world’s foundation, where the weather is inclement and seeks to draw you to compromise. Your physical health, relationships, emotions, and spiritual well-being must rest on the one, true foundation—Jesus Christ. He is the Balm of Gilead who makes the wounded whole. Do not look elsewhere to false comforts where temporary relief is the counterfeit goal.

Let grief settle and you will not sink under its weight. God will press the earth firmly around your roots, and you will stand . . . but give it time.

“ . . . he will restore, support and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10b NLT).

 

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