Grief asks many questions. It longs for what it does not possess anymore: your beloved. If they were still here, but you couldn’t find them, the search would be feverish until you held their warmth against your skin again. The same applies in your grief. You need their warmth against your skin, and you need answers; you need to know why. But unknown doesn’t feel like enough because, as you know, grief is no ordinary language and it cannot be satisfied with an ordinary answer.
Unknown doesn’t cut it … or maybe it does.
The neurologist’s stoic announcement of my husband’s fatal diagnosis unceremoniously threw us into the unknown. It was blank, or maybe more like the static that used to show up at midnight after the T.V. shows were done for the day, way-back-when. It was the screaming non-sound of deep loss. The unknown just stared back at me, and it seemed to have no manners. I wish I could have punched it in the face. The word played over and over in my mind, through the night and into the next day. There was nothing else, just… unknowns.
The news spread quickly, and the next evening, a car pulled into our driveway, then another car, and then another. They lined the street. I don’t know how many friends came that night, but we squeezed them all into our little home. The sweetness of it is indelible. Weeping did endure that night, and joy was a long way off, but we worshipped God with our grief and asked for His healing. Our son Samuel and a friend took out their guitars and led us to the throne of grace. I remember watching our son Benjamin lift his hands as he sang for mercy. He was ten.
After all the “amens” were said, a heavy silence fell on the room, and I felt as though we were not done. The Lord was asking us to continue praying. The hour was late, and we were all exhausted, but we bowed low again. The voice of a dear friend said, “Susan, I think the Lord wanted us to pray again because there is something He wants to say. It’s something He wants to say to you. He wants to tell you that He is there for you in the doorway of your unknown.”
No one but the Lord had known that day about the word that had been taunting me. It seemed God had stopped His world for me, and spoke my world back into being. If God has a specialty, it’s the unknown. He was telling me whenever something looked unknown, He would be there, waving His banner as a reminder of the intimate knowledge He possessed about me. From then on, the unknown would be known because He was in it. He was there, inhabiting whatever it was I didn’t see, understand, or know.
The unknown became a place to meet God and experience His love. It was love in a word, changing me then, continuing to this day.
For you, my grieving friend, let the unknown be a time to rest your mind and body from their striving and find your repose in the arms of the one who inhabits the unknown. You see, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1 GNT).