A Reminder I’d Rather Not Have…The Anniversary of My Dad’s Death

My dad died 4 years ago today. This is a day that I mark in my life but I wish this is a day that would never have happened. It reminds me and brings me back to a very difficult time in my life.

This is a day that comes around once a year that reminds me of something I know each and everyday – that someone is missing.

Someone is missing at my son’s soccer games. Someone is missing after I preach a good sermon to talk it through with. Someone is missing to give me advice and counsel when I desperately need it. Someone is missing in my life.

Some days its felt more than others, but its always felt. And today is one of those days.

So what do you do on days like today? Where things are hard, loss seems so present, and hurt so close by?

Well here is my answer – but I promise you it’s not a good one, or really one you’d expect a pastor to say. But it is an honest answer. You give in for a day. You give in for a day.

I know people say be strong, say get through it, say don’t ever give up. I know people say that, but sometimes I just think people are wrong or maybe others are just stronger than me. But I know when days like today come around once a year, the answer isn’t to try to tough it out, the answer isn’t to try to forget the hurt, the answer isn’t to busy yourself past it, but to enter into it.

So that’s what I’m doing today. I’m giving in for a day.

There is a line in a song I love by Florence and the Machine that says this, “I’m not giving up, I’m just giving in” And that’s how I feel today. I’m not giving up. Tomorrow I will get up and go to work. Tomorrow I will wake up and cook breakfast for my boys like I do every day. Tomorrow I will check emails, read Facebook, and check soccer scores. Tomorrow I will get back to my regular rhythm of life. But that’s tomorrow, today I won’t. Today I’ll give in, and remember that the rhythm of my life has forever been changed because someone is missing. So I will give in, I will be sad, I will sit, I will think, I will pray, and then decide I don’t want to pray, and I’ll talk about my dad. And I’ll repeat those actions a hundred times today.

You might disagree that this is healthy. That’s fine, do whatever is healthy for you. Tough it out if you can. But I know I’ve just never been that tough. So today “I’m not giving up. I’m just giving in.” And if you’ve ever been through loss, difficulty, or death it’s okay to give in for a day.

The Temptation When Your Tired

897022_75787639I’m tired. And when I’m tired I get tempted, by probably the biggest temptation I face on a daily basis.

I get tempted to forget that God is good.

When I get tired, when I get busy, when I’m in the nitty gritty of life and ministry there is a temptation to forget that God is good. To forget that God is faithful. To forget that God will come through.

When we get busy, tired, or in a dark or difficult place the temptation is to start to believe our doubts, or even to just let the doubts linger too long. That things won’t get better, that things won’t work out, that this time we fail beyond recovery, that this time we won’t find a way out. We start to forget that God is faithful, good, and full of grace. We forget that God is with us. We forget that God will never leave us. We forget that even when we feel tired, worn out, and unsure – God is steady, strong, and there for us.

But we need to remember and rest in the truth of the gospel: that God is good. That God is true. That God is here for us. We must fight the temptation to disbelieve and doubt in the goodness of God. No matter how our lives seem to conspire sometimes to cloud the fact that God is good, we need to continually come back to this fact.

And this isn’t about just positive thinking, it’s about resting in reality. And reality, as the Bible shapes it is this: God is good, God is faithful, and God is there.

 

So no matter where you are today know this God is good. And he never ever lets go. And that hopefully should give us enough to keep going today.